Alexander Millar was born in 1960 into the small mining village of Springside, a few miles outside the town of Kilmarnock in west Scotland. Growing up in the small traditional Scottish village gave Millar a strong sense of atmosphere, especially during times spent with his father, a British Rail worker, in the steam filled stations which Millar describes as 'the most romantic, nostalgic places to be.'
'Escaping' school in 1976, Millar left Springside and set himself up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The hustle and bustle of the new town and the local characters heavily inspired Millar's 'Gadgie' characters later on in life. Taking on many different professions for twelve years, Millar finally settled on becoming an artist in 1988. Being completely self-taught, his style is unique and inspired only by the events of his life and surrounding atmospheres which he already had a natural sense for.
While developing his style of art, Millar painted his signature 'Gadgie' characters, eventually entering his work into the Daily Mail's 'Not the Turner Prize'. His work was selected as a finalist from over ten thousand entries and was exhibited at the Mall Galleries in London. Since then, Millar's works have been successfully exhibited across the UK.
Millar's style is unique, inspired by the Tyne characters of his youth, shoes and shoulders are emphasized and oversized to draw attention to the industrial age that the country was going through. His figures cast strong shadows and typically have the face looking away from the view or obscured by a shadow, to further point out the faceless shadows running the factories around the country at the time. However, in his landscape pieces the viewpoint is often set with a powerful sunrise, possibly to suggest a bright future but also possibly to suggest the continuity between the repetitive days of work of the 'Gadgies' as the country continues to run on relentlessly.