Inside the Studio

Michael on indigo

Michael Milano shares his insight behind his unique processes working with indigo and denim to create works that explore how formalism can engage with lived experience or the world at large.

Photos by Michael Milano

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“In my practice I employ materials that are a part of our everyday experience, producing fabric-based works that are indebted to textile traditions and the history of abstraction. ”

— Michael Milano

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“Unlike other dyes, indigo does not fully penetrate its dyed fibers––it merely coats them––so when denim is worn or distressed, the indigo simply rubs off and reveals the fabric's underlying cotton threads. I am exploiting this inherent quality of indigo by temporarily mounting cut-paper shapes to the back of the support, then rubbing and distressing the front. ”

— Michael Milano

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“The works on white denim are made in a similar fashion. I use a piece of indigo-dyed cloth to rub indigo into the surface of the white denim, temporarily backed with cut-paper shapes, so that the formal composition is revealed through a similar method of rubbing and distressing, or frottage.”

— Michael Milano

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