Steve (also Steven) Miller, is a painter inspired by his surroundings and personal relationships. Miller’s acrylic landscape, genre, and portrait paintings are full of artistry, sensitivity, and humor.
Born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma, Miller completed his BFA in painting and printmaking from the University of Oklahoma in 1995. While there, Miller was inspired by wide open landscapes, Oklahoma skies, and painting professors Carol Beesley, George Bogart, and Edgar Heap-of-Birds, where he gained an appreciation for traditional and contemporary art concepts and techniques, while exploring his own desire to tell personal narratives with a self-deprecating sense of humor.
After graduating he spent a decade using his visual story-telling skills working as an art director at select advertising agencies in Dallas and Chicago. Then in 2002, he and his wife moved to Michigan and started their family, and he started painting full-time. Miller chose to be a stay-at-home-dad while he worked on developing his art career.
Fortunately, art communities throughout Michigan and beyond recognize his artwork. In Birmingham, he won the Corinne Maillard Robinson Award at the BBAC’s 38th Michigan Fine Arts Competition, a 5 state juried competition. The City of Royal Oak selected one of his landscapes for their 2019-2020 Art Explored program, a multi-yearlong public art exhibition. In Pontiac, he won 1st place in the 2018 Canvas Pontiac Art Competition, awarded by Barbara Heller of The Detroit Institute of Arts. The DIA also exhibited his “Offrenda to Robin Williams” in a 2014 Dia de Los Muertos exhibition. Beyond Michigan, Miller’s artwork has been written about and showcased in publications and galleries in Oklahoma and Texas, where he used to live, and in Colorado, Mississippi, and Virginia. Rolling Rock beer licensed his artwork for a national campaign, printing his painting on 12 million 12-packs and reproducing it as a poster giveaway.
Steve is down to earth and his art inspires his community. His artwork has helped support numerous fundraising events and local charities. He’s helped local businesses, a preschool, and a children’s hospital brighten their walls and entryways with his art. Steve cares about his community and uses his creative powers for good. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he is focused on responding artistically and musically to the feelings we are all sharing during this crazy time. Mostly, his work has been exhibited only virtually durning the pandemic, but he is looking forward to new opportunities. You can find his visual response on his website LookAtMyPaintings.com or through his social media accounts, Instagram @stevemillerart or facebook.com/stevemillerart. You can find his musical response by listening to Covid Bros., his band, wherever you stream or download your music, or visit CovidBros.band.
Painting is my sixth sense. I look closely, think deeply, and feel strongly about a subject. But, until I envisage my perceptions through hand and paint, I have not experienced a connection with the subject. I’m not talking about simply portraying what I see accurately onto canvas. The path I take is always unknown and open to interpretation. The connection is only made after overcoming failure and embracing discovery. Of course, the connection to the subject is curated, justified, and parts are completely made-up. However, it’s not the connection that’s important. What’s really important is the experience of trying to make that deep connection to your subject through painting. It’s exercise, and it’s work. The more I do it, the more I see, and the more I work, the better I feel.
Growing up in Oklahoma, I was inspired by big skies and open fields. I had a love/hate relationship with Southwest Art. With no real art market in Oklahoma, I admired the Taos and Santa Fe art scene. I was drawn to the artists dramatic and experimental use of color, but I was repelled by recurring southwestern themes of cowboys or indigenous cultural heritage. I couldn’t relate and needed to find my own path.
My art responds to my personal relationships, life experiences, strong emotions, and a self-deprecating sense of humor. My personality is evident in every painting. And, every painting is a reflection of the world around me. For example, the self portrait with a tin foil hat is a humorous commentary on the paranoia of the times we’re living in. And, my landscapes have movement, drawing the viewer into a place fabricated for their momentary escape.