Make no mistake: Brother Cliff Mills’ Holy Curations line of LDS-themed art is not your grandmother’s temple cross stitch. Instead, bright colors pop, and hand-lettered fonts inspired by gig posters and album art spell out Mills’ love for his faith.
A freelance designer and illustrator with a global clientele, Mills did a rendering of the Mesa Temple one day that became the catalyst for his new online store.
“There was something refreshing about taking a step out of the client world and doing something I was passionate about. I love my faith and like the outlet this provides me to showcase as much.”
Why call it Holy Curations?
“I wish I had a clever answer for you,” Mills laughs. “I’d like to think that each of the pieces is at least somewhat sacred. Given that I’m creating all the artwork myself, I’m responsible for displaying it all in an organized manner. Kind of lame when you break it down so simply, but it sounds cool when you say it…doesn’t it?”
Holy Curations is a breath of fresh air in the LDS art world, offering clothing and prints that feature not only temple art, but retro-style riffs on Mormon culture. Sunny tees proclaim “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam!” A shirt featuring the all-seeing eye hovering over a beehive reads, “An eye single to his glory” below—and “My Sabbath Shirt” comes in deliciously fun colors like cranberry, mint and truffle.
That aesthetic sets Holy Curations apart from “traditional” faith-centered design. Of the trend toward photographic realism in LDS art, Mills says, “it serves a purpose and has pretty broad appeal. However, it simply has not kept up with the times.” Mills’ art appeals to a younger millennial audience in its clean modernity.
“My work offers a more modern approach to an ancient theme.”
Mills points to his love of comic books and pop art as early inspirations. During college at BYU-Idaho, he had the opportunity to design band art—covers, t-shirts and posters.
“I always wanted to wear t-shirts depicting the bands I was listening to and had them plastered on my bedroom walls,” he says. “Not much has changed.”
Mills likes the humanity intrinsic to those other artistic styles. “Your style is the sum total of all of your mistakes,” an art instructor told him once, and the quote resonated.
“As humans, we grow by learning from our mistakes. We will likely never attain a level of perfection in this life, so why try to fake it in our art?”
Mills has high hopes for Holy Curations’ future. With time on his hands, he is constantly creating new products for his online shop, usually introducing a product a day.
New products are on the horizon. Mills hopes to expand his line to include more children’s tees, women’s dresses, skirts and leggings, and activity totes to help keep kids reverent during the Sacrament.
Look for more products, Mills says, but don’t look for his work at chain stores.
“I foresee selling my work in a boutique or two in the future, but am going to try my best to steer clear from larger retailers.”
Mills’ twin passion for art and faith runs deep. At the launch of his latest creative endeavor, he places himself within the greater design world.
“People have been making marks on anything they can get their hands on to illustrate their beliefs since the beginning of time. I’m just trying to honor this tradition.”
To check out Holy Curations, follow them on Facebook or Instagram @holycurations, or visit https://holycurations.com/ to buy direct.