Grants & residencies: Todd McMillan - Art Collector

Issue 59, January - March 2012

This profile appeared in the Grants & Residencies feature, part of the annual special issue 50 Things Collectors Need to Know 2012.

Sydney-based artist Todd McMillan was awarded one of the Australia Council’s prestigious New Work Grants for established artists for 2011. This provided the artist with $20,000 to make new work for a solo exhibition.

The grant represents a significant opportunity for McMillan, and one for which he says he’s “enormously grateful”. He has already put the money to good use, going to Tasmania to shoot footage of the Shy Albatross, an endangered species that only breeds in two places in Australia. McMillan had to travel 20 nautical miles off Southport near Hobart in order to capture the bird on 16-millimetre film. This required hiring a crew as well as a cinematographer.

Without the assistance of the grant, a complicated project like this simply wouldn’t have happened. “I’ve been wanting to shoot this work for years, the albatross as a poetic trope is a recurring one in my work,” he explains. “But without that sort of funding, that large outlay on a boat crew, shooting on film and so on would have been impossible.”

“Being given the opportunity to be uncompromising from the original idea to its execution has been a crucial developmental step in my practice.”

This grant is the second the 32-year-old has received from the Australia Council. In 2008 he was a recipient of its New Work Grant for emerging artists. Making the transition from the council’s emerging to established category in three years lends further legitimacy to his already critically acclaimed practice.

Carrie Miller

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