Michelle Miller | Behind the Process

Me in my studio 2017

In the wake of a lot of rain, the sun has officially returned to Boulder and now is a great time to get in the mood for what promises to be an action packed summer. As we prepare for the upcoming Vibrant Femmes exhibition here at madelife on July 15th, we also welcome a brand new set of murals to our public wall. Taking part in both the show and the murals, we sat down with printmaker Michelle Miller to learn more about her work and her recent successes.

Cloud Shadow 36x72 in Screenprint on Paper @ Norcross & Scott 13 color mono print 2016

At first glance, her prints serve as a veritable punch right in the face with an almost unreal brightness of color. Her shapes create energy and depth within the dynamic landscapes of her silkscreens in ways that have left some viewers scratching their heads. The key to this colorwork lay in a fine tuned process she has established over the years, developed while attending the Art Institute of Chicago.

Mixing her inks from scratch utilizing a mixing medium and unbelievable pigments made from quality sources, Michelle has unlocked color mixtures and combinations that allow for a much richer color payoff which developed her the luminosity signature to her pieces. When asked about why she chooses to go the extra ink mile, she noted that “I can really saturate those colors, or have a pastel that is still so flourescent that it can almost glow. This makes my work really stand out from other print work, because it really does have a radiance to it that is unique and only really available through self-mixing”.   

Cloud Shadow a 2.5x5 ft Screenprint on Paper edition of 1 before framing March 2016A fan of minimalism, Michelle, enjoys the unique challenge of conveying the most she can with the least amount of strokes. Color plays an indispensable role in her work for this specific reason. “For me color holds so much information, from just my day to day experiences traveling or my experiences in queer culture to moving between a lot of mecca cities especially in terms of our political climate.”

Each hue can recall a memory, a moment, and the vibrant colors utilized only accentuate the precisely placed geometric shapes across her prints’ landscapes. Using the noble sketchbook, Michelle’s self-professed “natural habitat”, allows her to transcribe daily events and draw imagery she experiences. Once in the studio, she then brings the images together to form the shapes found in her prints by paring down every line until she has fit as much information as she can into each and every shape. Though her works are a methodical and entrancing capture of the life of an artist, Michelle makes it a point not to focus too much on the final goal of a piece. She professes that it is when she “stays in the moment, focusing on the small steps… that my best works comes into being”.

13A little surprise Screenritn on paper monoprint copyStaying in the moment is no small feat considering the success of the last months for Michelle. While some may choose to revel in it all, Michelle stays busy traveling from one corner of the country to the next taking part in truly dynamic shows. Just recently, Michelle was invited to create a piece while on a flight, marking one of the first in-air collaborative creative efforts. For most of this summer, she can be found soaking up the sun at the respected Kala Art Institute in San Francisco as an artist-in-residence, and we are all too excited to welcome Michelle back for the opening of the Vibrant Femmes exhibition here at madelife in July 15th. Not only will Michelle showcase an entire body of new work, but we are honored to be unveiling a brand new public mural created just for the Boulder community by Michelle.

Femme Future 18x24 edition of 5 for The Southern Gallery Charleston SC 2017In fact, she stresses that it has been through the creative community both here in Boulder and across the country that her work has been allowed to flourish. “I am really blessed to have printmakers that have been doing this for decades enjoy my art and wanting to promote me. So many of these opportunities are because of these individuals. They are all in the middle of their careers in their 30s, 40s, etc so it is amazing that they are even interested in my art. So many artists in 2017 say this is the year to cross promote and help each other as artists, to keep the art world going and keep it in our hands. This is something I really feel a part of”.

At madelife, we couldn’t agree more. As a creative community, we are stronger together than we are apart. And it is through our mutual support of one another that Boulder manages to continually foster a bright and dynamic environment open to artists and creators alike. Come by the opening of the Vibrant Femmes exhibition to meet Michelle and the other artists taking part in the show. And don’t forget to stop by and see the new mural too! We sense picture opportunities in the future.

Flow Screenprint Detail

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Check out Michelle’s work at MichelleMillerPrint.com

And don’t forget to follow her on Instagram, @michellemillerprint

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