Andre Miller

Artist Statement

I paint to bring a sense of order and peace to my world. If you’re looking for controversy, you won't find it here unless you bring it. I believe it is overrated.  My work will reflect my background, i.e., socio-economic history. However, I rarely display my political outlook in my work. That may be for another time in my journey. I have been given a gift by the Creator and when I paint, there is a feeling of calmness that resembles a spiritual connection to Him. There is also a powerful, youth sustaining excitement that engulfs me when I create a work. As I work with the palette knife and especially my hands, I am reminded of this very strong connection between myself and the work. The finished piece uplifts my innermost being in a spiritual sense.

I begin each piece by sketching. It is the moment of conception. I sketch on anything, anywhere, at anytime. The sketch is almost always about what I'm taking in at the moment. This is always true when I find myself scrawling away during a sermon or when listening to jazz, live or recorded. The piece may not be started in earnest for quite some time. When it is finally brought forth onto the board, it is usually after long contemplation. This laboring phase is, therefore, usually easy and brief. This period of gestation serves as a self examination when I choose the patterns and bold colors that reflect the strong influence of stained glass that can be seen in my work. The patterns of vibrant color fields often separated by darker lines and various textures are applied to the motifs of figures with elongated necks stretched by decades of struggle. The eyes of the subjects are always closed so as not to violate the viewer's soul experience. It would be somewhat irreverent to have the melody of the painting abruptly ended with the sour note of a piercing stare.  At times, the motifs are only of the instruments associated with jazz and blues.

Biblical motifs, as well as, Mother and Child subjects are revisited from time to time. Often times, if the labor is long and difficult, I find that the moment of conception was usually far away from my comfort zone. When the work is not as successful and I struggle, I feel temperamental, paranoid, and frustrated. I work the piece over and over only to unleash more agony often destroying it in the process. It is during these times I evolve as an artist. However, when my work is going well, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of peace.

My favorite colors to work with are greens, blues, yellows, and reds. They are very organic and life-invigorating which when combined, can be very spiritual. I know when a piece has turned out well when there is a sense of balance and it conveys a tone to me. When I look at the work it almost plays a tune in my ears. The vibrant colors, distorted figures, harmonic shapes, and melodic patterns all vibrate with a musical life-giving sound. I know when a piece is done when I listen to it and it sounds right. I am most pleased when my work draws positive reactions and the viewer sees and hears the intended message. If my work makes you think of harmony; if my work causes you to think of some pleasant long ago memory; if my work takes you to a distant calm; if my work makes you smile; this is peace.  My work has recently evolved to deal with my attempt to portray a personal theology on canvas. There can be found symbolism in each line and color of my current compositions. As my work continues to evolve, the message stays the same. If my work enrages you because you're looking for a deep metaphysical meaning or social commentary and can't find it,....my message is Peace.

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