Broken Toyland

Broken Toyland. One thing that I really love about art is that you won't necessarily know exactly what the artist intended unless it is really laid out for you by the artist directly.  You can make your own assumptions, think about what a piece may mean, but it doesn't mean that you will know exactly what the artist intended.  Experiencing art can be a creative exercise in itself.  Sometimes, when an artist tells you exactly what they were thinking about a given work, it can be a let down.  Most artists tend not to give the full description of their thought process for this exact reason.

With some art, I don't have the urge to ask the artist questions.  This is not a judgment of value, but rather me honestly talking about art.  My trip to a gallery can affect the way I perceive the work.  An overcast day may put a damper on my day and it can ultimately change my mood for the day.  Each person is unique and I enjoy hearing different ways of approaching art.  I don't claim to be the deciding opinion when it comes to art and I will not tell you what to like.

Broken Toyland has a unique way of approaching painting.  The titles of her paintings give you some insight into the situations and relationships, but it doesn't tell a literal story.  In many ways, her artwork is a frozen moment focusing on emotions of a hybrid story of Beetle Juice (colors, tone, aeshtetic) and Toy Story (sympathy toward toys and developing relationships between the cartoon-like characters).  In the end, her artwork successfully creates a world where you begin to see story these relationships.

I thought it would be interesting to hear from Broken Toyland artist, Valery Milovic, directly about her artwork.  So I reached out to her for an interview.

R= Ronin, V: Broken Toyland (Valery Milovic).

R:  What is the meaning behind Broken Toyland?

V: Broken Toyland is a universe. How do you summarize a universe? I'll quote myself here: "If music is the universal language, then art is the language of the heart." Then quote Leonard Cohen, "There's a crack in everything... that's how the light gets in." This is Broken Toyland. A place where we're all equal.

R:  Did the images in the Velveteen Rabbit catch your attention or was it the story?

V: It was the story, and the images it conjured in my head >:)

R:  Where were you born?

V: I was born in Glendale, CA, but was raised in Eagle Rock (which is northeast Los Angeles). Lived there most of my life.

R:  Where you formally trained in art?

V: No thank you >:) Technique can be taught, but not soul. I'd rather be a crappy artist that touches a few, than someone hung up on technique, missing the bigger picture.

R:  What cartoons did you watch growing up?

V: All the oldie classics! Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, The Jetsons, the old black and white ones (LOVE those), Mighty Mouse, Under Dog... all those and many more.

R:  I understand that you are very interested in the story of people’s lives and the emotions of other people.   How does that make it’s way into your work.  Do you consider yourself a story teller?

V: I would love to be a storyteller, but I have never considered myself one. I'm flattered that you would even hint in that direction. As for the lives and emotions of others... they do make their way into my art, but honestly, most of it comes from my own experiences and emotions. I don't know any other way of creating. I've tried to create things without any attachment... but it falls flat. It's insincere and it shows! So I stick with what comes natural and am thankful I have a spec of ability with which to do that.

R:  Does the text in some of your mixed media pieces add to the story of your paintings or do you use newspaper for a change in texture as a surface to paint on?

V: Yes and no... I don't generally use newspaper. It's too cold looking... bluish. I use antique books of a certain sort. They look and smell good >:) Math books, travel books, Russian or Polish language books. But mainly it's math and maps. I'm kind of obsessed with maps and numbers lol. There  is hidden meanings in most of them, though. But not always.

R:  How much does New Mexico (or your environment in general) affect your work?

V: NM doesn't affect my work. I am not at all influenced by southwest art (obviously lol). And the fact I hole-up and don't leave the house for long stretches. I will say that it does very much influence my photography. But this article isn't about that.

R:  Do people think your work is dark?  Do you get that often?  What do you say to that?

V: Some people do. And it's usually the ones that are what I call, 'book cover judges'. They usually do that with everything in life, so what's the point in explaining? I don't want everyone to like me or my art. But sometimes someone will tell me, "When I first saw your work, I thought it was so dark and depressing... then I started to get it... now I don't think that at all." It sure isn't for everyone. I'm ok with that.

R:  Does having an observant nature or approaching things as an observer helps you understand the way people express their emotions?

V: I would have to say, yes. It's both a blessing and a curse.

R:  What direction is your work taking in 2010?

V: I don't know. I can't stop lol. I'm just along for the ride! Onward and upwards, I hope!

R:  Last question.  What type of artwork/merch do you have available and where can people find it?

V: Well, I just pretty much sold out of t-shirts and hoodies. Talking to someone this week about a new line, though. And as far as original artwork goes, I have some, artist direct. People will have to email me for a list of what I have available. Lots more can be obtained through the various galleries that represent my work. I have art at the Miller Gallery in Cincinatti, at the Maripossa Gallery in Albuquerque, at Masks Y Mas in Albuquerque, at Alcove Gallery in Altanta, The Skull Club Gallery in New Orleans, L'art Noir in New Orleans, Psycho Donuts in Campbell, CA and at the Cactus Gallery in Eagle Rock, CA.............Thank you so much for considering my art worth enough for an interview. It's been both an honor and a privelege. Thank you!

For more info on Broken Toyland's upcoming exhibitions, check out her Facebook page or