Soey Milk & John Mayer’s Creative Collaboration

“He’s a creative individual with the biggest heart,” says Soey Milk of accomplished singer-songwriter and talented guitarist John Mayer. “He supports artists 120%.” After a conversation initiated by Mayer over Instagram, Milk was granted complete creative freedom in designing the cover art for his new album, “The Search for Everything.” Mayer gradually released the album beginning with four song collections that were dropped in January and February, which he called Wave 1 and Wave 2. The remaining songs were released on April 14th and the album is now available in its entirety (14 total tracks) on iTunes and Spotify.

Milk, whose subjects are typically female, produced an enchanting drawing of Mayer for Wave 1 with wistful flowers and intricate mandalas blooming in the space behind him. A single, decorated string with small tassels is draped over the singer’s head and around his shoulder, possibly representing a chord or thought weaving through his mind. His face is meticulously rendered as a strikingly realistic image, while the designs surrounding him are drawn as delicate silhouettes. Blooming flowers and draped strings are common symbols in Milk’s graphite drawings and oil paintings, which simultaneously represent the delicacy and ferocity of the feminine.

Milk’s drawing for Wave 2 is a young woman with cascading hair whose softness is echoed in the feathers that float around her face. Her closed eyes and serene expression among the dancing feathers evokes a dream-like state or the remembering of a sweet memory. Milk’s drawings are now in Mayer’s personal collection and have served as artistic promotion for his seventh studio album.

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Wave 1 is also stamped with Milk’s red chops, which are seals commonly used in lieu of signatures in East Asia. According to the artist, the chops can be made in a variety of ways that represent either your true name or a resonating poem; nearly all of her works are stamped with one or more of her personal chops. The seal on John Mayer’s album cover is an abbreviation of a poem that was given to the artist by her grandfather shortly before he passed away. It was one of his favorite poems that reminded him of his granddaughter. It reads:

The pine tree stands in the snow as a virtuous scholar’s faithfulness, and the cherry blossoms dress their faces under the moonlight as beautiful as feminine divine.

Stream John Mayer’s new album here and browse Milk’s current exhibition, Kiokada, on our website.

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Photo from John Mayer’s Instagram account of “The Search for Everything” released in vinyl with cover art by Soey Milk.

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