Featured Artist: Apryl Miller
view Miller's portfolio here
Q1. At what age did you know you were an artist?
I come from a DIY family and though I always knew we were "creative', that did not extend past those boundaries and flow to the concept of artist. I never liked art classes and when I had to paint or draw an image in school as a child, it was always painful and difficult for me. It seemed as if I was always expected to make tight, realistic images, when I am actually a loose, abstract artist. But I could not have known that then, and those childhood classes were not the place to experiment. It was in my home, with my family, working on projects together, that I felt a sense of mastery and direction. When I was in my early 40's, I began to whisper to myself that I was an artist and as time went on, that whisper turned into a normal speaking voice.
Q2. What was the first work of art you created?
We would make Halloween and Valentine's Day cards on carbon paper and my mother would go to the school where she worked, to run them off for us, on the mimeograph machine. I have slides of my older brother and I, circa 1960, with our water colors out and the kitchen table arrayed with our Christmas card production. We were ahead of the times even then, not going for realistic images of The Mother and Christ Child, or Santa and his reindeer, but rather we yielded our brushes with an abstract passion.
On my route to becoming an artist, as an adult, I began to make collages for my daughters birthday parties. They began as simple, one page affairs and became elaborate three and four page productions, with holes cut out of them, all folded and taped together. The progression and my growth as a creative person, can easily be seen in these pieces, as they move along the continuum from timid and near bashful, to brash and vibrant colors, turning their face as close to the sun as they can get.
Q3. What is one of your favorite past exhibitions?
Summer of Love, Art of the Psychedelic Era, Whitney Museum, 2007
I grew up in a small town, that was neither a destination nor on the way to any place anyone would want to go. I was fascinated by the colors and patterns of the 1960's and into the 1970's, but I didn't have access to them, I couldn't purchase the fabrics, and I couldn't buy the clothes. So I looked at Life Magazine and the Sears Catalog, and I dreamed.
Q4. Who/what is your biggest influence or inspiration right now?
I have a story to tell and it is about our universal state of imperfection and how it binds us together. It is about relationships and how we express ourselves within them, the fragility of our human connections. How do we relate to each other, how do we love, what is our voice and what do we do to keep ourselves safe? It is about the inspiration of our search for wholeness and redemption. It resides in the space where loss and hope meet, at the intersection of joy and sorrow. I tell this intimate and personal story through the poetry of bold patterns, vibrant colors and the implementation of dimensionality
Q5. What is the first thing that comes to mind after an opening?
I am glad it is over, I hope I sell and I can't believe I did it. I take great pride in my work and I am sometimes star struck and know that I will never wholly abandon the small town girl who dreamed of Twiggy and Courreges, thumbing through the Sears catalog.
Q6. Why do you work in this particular medium?
I am drawn to dimensionality and I'm not sure why, perhaps it is more like the human body or it is that more objects in life have planes, than are flat. I'm a tactile person and I like to see art that makes me want to touch it. If I am working on a flat, 2-D piece, I always add objects to it to give it shape, raising the elevation, therefore adding the poetry of asymmetry. I drill holes in my collages and add all manner of things, plastics, metals, boxes, attaching them with jewelry wires and beads. There is a joy in wielding my drill and a sense of abandon when choosing the placement of my additions. It is a world that is my own and I am swimming in water that I have made.
Q7. Do you collect anything?
I collect those objects I could not purchase as a child, items for the home and body, in the form of vintage clothing, vintage fabrics, vintage shoes, vintage purses, vintage wall mirrors and drawings or paintings of trees.
Q8. Which of your own works on KiptonART are you favorite? Why?
A. "The Where and The How Left you and your Silence"
I had such joy putting this piece together, fitting all the chairs and fragments of chairs together, figuring out how they could intersect each other, and ultimately, balance and hold each other in a cohesive, visually pleasing way. I am especially proud of the text I wrote to accompany this piece. It is powerful and moving. Here is the first stanza:
"Your Silence ate away at me
and my music within,
My tears rejoiced, wept
great gallons as I walked
away from the promise that
Will never Root and
silence that will not break
nor heal, no matter the view."
B. "The Silence Of Love And Families"
I have been exploring the concept of silence in my work for five or six years and this piece is one of my first conversations on the topic. I loved the making of it and I loved the pondering of my ideas during the process. Silence is paradoxical as it can be used as a weapon, or employed as a protective device. My meditation on silence is rooted in how we wound ourselves through omission. The piece is covered with 32 statements about silence, which I wrote. We do not say the words that will protect ourselves and others, we do not say that we love and we do not say that we hurt and by not doing so, we create chasms between us. This piece explores themes from childhood and expects us to examine what we withhold from ourselves and others. It asks the question, where, when and from whom did you learn silence?
Here is a listing of the first few statements:
- Break your silence before Death.
- I will die in my silence.
- Do not leave your love in silence.
- You will die with my silence.
- I take your silence to the grave.
- Keep silence far from your Heart.
- Do not shroud your pain with silence.
- Do not leave your love unspoken across The chasm, The Abyss. No unspoken love, My Love.