Glittering crystal mosaic oil paintings of the world's most vulnerable animals

Painting in traditional oils and also with thousands of crystals, Claire Milner has created art for celebrities, large corporations and advertising agencies. Her large-scale portrait of Marilyn Monroe in 65,000 Swarovski crystals commissioned for Rihanna, is also featured on the official website of The Estate of Marilyn Monroe. With strong links to Italy and inspired by her studies of Byzantine and Roman mosaics, the artist often incorporates crystals as a contemporary medium to re-interpret this ancient art form.

Claire has a background as a graphic designer and illustrator, and her commissions in this capacity have included portraits of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former Chancellor Nigel Lawson as well as many other politicians and company CEOs.

In her latest work, she created a glittering crystal mosaic painting of a tiger “Burning Bright” – which sold at a charity art auction at the Savoy Hotel, London last week. In aid of Save Wild Tigers, the painting raised £11,000 for targeted tiger conservation initiatives for Save Wild Tigers, Born Free Foundation and EIA (Environmental Investigation Agency).

Claire said: “I feel a responsibility to create work which inspires people to engage both in art and also in a subject that is universal, and reaching a tipping point in our lifetime; one which could have potential irreparable and unforeseen implications for the human race, as well as for animals. Artists throughout history have chronicled the important issues of the day, and the fact that my work was part of an important event to raise awareness and funds for Save Wild Tigers is a tremendous privilege.”

Claire Milner’s magnificent crystal mosaic tiger changes mood depending on the lighting conditions. Created with 32,000 Swarovski elements, which is representative of 10 times the number of tigers in the wild and also symbolic of the amount already lost to poaching. Only the head of the tiger is visible, representing the preciousness of the living animal and underlining the fact that these magnificent creatures are being killed for their constituent parts.

In the painting, the tiger’s head is partially protected by a palm frond, which is an ancient symbol of virtue and victory, and symbolises the organisations working to protect this most iconic of species. The work is influenced by the jungle paintings of Henri Rousseau and "The Tyger" poem by William Blake. Turning literature into graffiti, the artwork also includes a call to arms, and a snare, which is a common method of poaching wild tigers.

Claire Milner’s crystal tiger is part of a larger collection of fourteen powerful paintings the artist has created which focus on the plight of some of the world’s most vulnerable creatures. The subject of mortality and the conflict between civilisation and the natural world are recurring themes in the artist’s work.

The crystal mosaic collection represents an incredible level of technical accuracy, yet upon closer inspection each work shows a much darker subtext of the consequences of poaching, climate change and habitat loss. Before starting the paintings, Claire engages in hours of research, compiling statistics, viewing painful imagery and extensive reading about the threats facing these creatures today. The resulting artworks are sparkling illustrations of Claire’s goal of raising awareness of the intolerable rate at which animal species are becoming extinct at the hands of man.

For more information on Claire Milner, visit

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