When we look into your work one word comes across - ballet. A skill that is carried on great commitment and hard work of an artist and brought perfectly to the eye of the observant. We would like to know more about you, who is Adrien Miller? Where did it all begin?
It all started for me, Adrien Miller, being the son of an artist and a scientist. My mom had her illustration studio in the house, so anytime I needed something to do, there were always art supplies at hand. As a child of maybe 5 years, I saw my first episode of “The Joy of Painting” with Bob Ross, and was so thrilled by his magic painting technique that I needed to try it. My mom set me up with some oil paints and canvas and I made 3 landscape paintings in one sitting. The first was a muddy mess, but I was determined to make something sweet, so I learned from my mistakes and kept my enthusiasm to do better on the next one, and then again on the next one, and that attitude has stayed with me to this day. Through my teenage years my painting interest shifted towards graffiti, which I practiced and painted obsessively until my second time being arrested for it. I decided to shift my focus towards art I could earn money off of and not have to pay fines to do. My first long term girlfriend and I started doing nude drawings and paintings of each other, and she hipped me to Salvador Dali, who became my main art hero and a heavy influence on the art I made.
My high school art teacher was very encouraging, and helped me develop a strong portfolio that got me a merit scholarship to California College of Arts and Crafts (Now CCA). I had immense drive to paint, yet my first semester of art school felt like it was holding me back from making the art I wanted to make by filling all my time with basic art student exercises, so I decided to take a year off to travel Europe and study the old masters and the works I had only seen in books. All my favorite artists seemed to be drawing influence from the greats that came before them, so I wanted to do that. I filled a sketchbook and produced a stack of paintings abroad, had my first solo show in Seattle after 2.5 months in Spain, and made enough off of selling those works that I decided to go back to Europe and this time went to Italy and Switzerland. I found myself drawing sculptures everywhere. I also started to feel quite humbled by how incredible all the art was that I was seeing, realized I wasn’t so special, and it was time to continue formal education. I wanted to learn new skills, so I became an individualized major, combing sculpture, painting, and photography. Ceramics was the department at my school where people were making figurative sculpture, so that’s where I started to spend most of my time. Upon graduating, I began to do work trade at a community center ceramics studio, and was asked to teach as a sub for an adult beginner class. After my first sculpting demo, one of the students politely asked if I could teach her to make a plate on the wheel. I said I would next class. I had only thrown a few times on a wheel, so I stayed late practicing throwing on the wheel in order to teach it, then I got hooked! It was so fun, functional, and it could be both a painting and a sculpture!
Our second thought is "blended perfectly". Most of your art pieces can find practical use in one home, along with its outstanding art spirit. Where does your inspiration come from? And what are your professional goals?
My inspiration comes primarily from people, the earth, and from the process of making. I'm steadily inspired by the changing colors of the sky, the continuous transformation and weathering of landforms, the movement of the body, the subtleties of facial expressions, the physical characteristics of clays and glazes changing from liquid to solid...
I'd rather not speak of specific professional goals until I've reached them... Mostly I feel content to spend as much time as possible immersed in the process of making art and sharing it. The saying "the path is the goal" feels true for my art practice.
Your art is very unique, with old classic details mixed with modern patterns and shapes. Who are your major influences? And what message would you like to transfer to your supporters?
My major influences are Dalí, Rodin, Bernini, Leonardo, Arthur Gonzales (my former professor), Wedgewood, Magritte, Buddhist art history, Zen influenced pottery, Akio Takamori and too many others to mention.
A lot of your pieces have a human face, it's mixed in a way that instantly captivates our attention. Is there a hidden story behind that face? And how did that style developed?
I find the face, and the figure in general, to carry a state of being that most of us can read or understand through its expression. This became clear to me when looking at an art show in college. I found myself looking at a painting of a person's self portrait with kind of a vacant facial expression, and I realized while looking at it, I was automatically mirroring the person's expression, returning a kind of vacant stare. I saw a potential to share other states of being through facial expression and body language. One of my main intentions is to share a sense of calm, joy, and equanimity through the things I make. I try to convey those expressions so others may activate those qualities in themselves reflecting on those expressions as they appear on the body.
While developing your art, do you explore some specific topics? And what role does art in everyday life have?
A main topic for me is finding balance in the chaos of our wildly sensational world. I think the role of art in everyday life is to inspire insight. Making art materializes quality attention. When I choose art to live with, it brings me joy and encourages contemplation and attentiveness to whatever I'm engaging with. I like to sneak art into functional objects for daily life to bring some wonder into meeting the necessities of the moment.
We believe that people who develop their skills and explore their inner self bring more value to the world we all live in. So tell us what’s the best thing about being an artist?
The best thing about being an artist is making art! The creative process can be such a fascinating, challenging, healing, surprising, revealing and enjoyable journey full of discovery. I feel so grateful that I get to spend my time marveling in the mysterious beauty and complexity of being human, while finding ways to share my awe and love through what I make.
And in the end, share with us, how do you keep your creativity on flow? And what gives you the most joy in life?
I keep my creativity in flow through habit. I show up to the studio 6 days a week and have so many unrealized pieces in my head that I am eager to spend long hours to realize some of those ideas. If I feel blocked, I'll just throw some basic pots on the wheel, which sets me up to have some things to decorate and experiment with, and things start happening. I do my best to take 1 full day off a week without going to the studio to balance out other areas of life, and that time helps ideas marinate and invigorates my enthusiasm to get back into the studio the next day.
What brings me the most joy in life? Making art, dancing contact improvisation, cold water swimming, meditation, making music, and time in nature with loved ones all bring great joy to my life.
I cannot forget the first feeling I got from reading his answers to the questions I sent. I kept playing this old schooled movie in my head. About his life, how he followed his emotions and relied on his intuition. How something so deep like his passion for art sculpted him as a person and didn't restrain him. In the modern world, that's called bravery.
His art is a footprint of his life, every step he took forward can be read if you see the signs. And we're excited to read more in the future.
The FOURLINEdesign team would like to thank Adrien Miller for sharing inspiring thoughts with our community.