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Tits Talk with Zoe Milah

Updated: Oct 28

We had the pleasure of recently chatting with Zoe Milah for our first Tits Talk.

Zoe Milah DeJesus is a Puerto Rican-American visual artist currently based in Melbourne, Australia whose body of work explores the inner depths of her lived experiences and explorations of self and identity.



What would you say are the main themes and subject matters you explore within your work?

I think the themes I explore most are very spiritual and self reflective. Like most artists, I use my practise as an outlet to explore and understand myself more deeply. I also use it as a way to download and assess my environment. Sometimes painting helps me to make sense of things, other times my paintings feel like reflections or snapshots of a moment in time. The themes often change, but the analytical element always stays the same.

Lately, I’ve been working around themes of loneliness, depression and uncertainty. But also strength in self, spiritual connection and the importance of intimacy and friendship. To me, all of these themes are linked to one another and I think I’ve been using my work to subconsciously figure out how they all intersect. It’s only when I step back that I can see I am using my art to iron out my own experiences and flesh out the thoughts and ideas that are typically quite loud and chaotic in my head.




How long have you been a practising artist and how did it all start for you? We would love to know about the moment you realised you knew that you wanted to be an artist.

I’d say I’ve been a practising artist since around 2017. I’ve always loved art in all its forms and I’ve always known that I wanted to be someone who creates things, but it took me a while to find painting. I was hopping around from job to job after I graduated from Uni, where I studied communications and theatre - a pretty random combination of things. I was very unsure of what I wanted to do. The whole process of trying to find meaningful work after graduating was very depressing and I was desperate for a creative outlet, so I started painting in my spare time. I started out using waterolours, coloured pencils and texters.

I would just lay in bed or sit on the couch and mindlessly make things. It helped me feel more connected to myself during a time that felt extremely uncertain and it relieved some of the pressure I was experiencing. I quickly realised that I enjoy communicating through art. So, when people around me started to respond to my work, I decided that I would give it a go and really pour my whole self into it.

In 2018, about a year after I started making art seriously, I decided to move to Melbourne. I sort of naively thought that there was something romantic about moving to a new city to become an artist. Anyway, that’s exactly what I did, so I’m still very much at the beginning of my journey.



Since connecting with Marisa and Tits and Co. - what have been some of the insights or

learnings that have come from this friendship?

Connecting with Marisa has been a really beautiful experience for me. I messaged her during one of Melbourne’s lockdowns, pretty much just asking for some advice about how to navigate the art world. At the time, I had way too much time on my hands to sit and stew about my art and my life and what it all meant. But Marisa kindly sat in the park with me, a stranger at the time, and listened as I told her about my woes - how I was feeling unsure about myself and my work and how I didn’t know what to do next. I didn’t know how to level up. She gave me some very logical advice but also some guidance that was warm and heartfelt. I’ll always appreciate that moment. Since then, Marisa has been a really lovely person to have in my corner, cheering me on and lifting me up. As someone who is new to Melbourne and who is an expat with no access to family, having support is not only helpful, it’s necessary for me to succeed. No artist has ever gotten anywhere on their own. I think that’s one of the most crucial takeaways from my friendship with Marisa - that we can all experience success if we choose to support each other and prioritise community.




How did you feel about taking part in Tits and Co. first in person event at The Affordable Art Fair in Melbourne last month and what did that experience bring for you and your career as an artist?

Being a part of the Affordable Art Fair was huge for me. I am someone who has scraped my árt career’ together by the skin of my teeth. Most of my shows have been underground and independently produced on a casual workers budget. So being in that space with other professional artists and galleries felt very validating. More importantly, I got to meet the people who connected with my work and who saw themselves in it.

The experience made me feel like I am capable of much more than I thought I was and that I can be taken more seriously as an artist. Being a full time artist has always been my goal, but until I attended the fair, that dream has always felt out of reach. The fair gave me a much needed confidence boost, which, as artists will know, is extremely important when it comes to keeping up momentum. Belief in self is the only way an artist can sustain the production of work, so I’m very grateful for the experience that no doubt helped to keep my fire lit during a time when it was dimming.



Can you please tell us about some of the projects or pieces that you have in the works? Any

upcoming shows or events we should look out for?

I’ve just finished up a collection of original artworks titled Sing me to sleep. I actually made this collection coming off the back of the Affordable Art Fair because I received so much interest in my black ink paintings. I thought it made sense to make a collection of work in that style as it has resonated with the most people. I will be releasing those artworks online only, on October 23rd! I also have tentatively decided to organise another secret group exhibition. I curated and produced one of these shows back in April as a way to foster community among art lovers and all the emerging artists in Melbourne. The idea is to host exhibitions in unconventional spaces that feel more approachable than the white walls of a gallery. It’s basically a house party but with art on the walls. There was a great response to that show, so I thought I’d do another one but bigger and better. And this time, with a price cap so that

the work is actually affordable to the audience that it’s marketed towards. Anyway! Keep an out on my Instagram for more details about that :)





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