Three Questions with Joe Miller

three questions with joe miller

Joe Miller Press Photo.jpg

in advance of his live painting appearance for manifest at arbella (12/23) we interviewed joe miller, one of chicago's foremost art directors, muralists, and creators. 

joe is a graduate of the university of chicago mfa program, works out of chicago, new york city, and panama city, and has created for organizations including high concept laboratories, lollapalooza, and north coast music festival. we're honored to work with him. 


one. is there a moment in time (e.g., art project, a certain teacher) when you knew that creating was going to be your life’s work? if so, can you describe that (memory, feeling, thought) for us?

the most pivotal time i can recall is during my sophomore year of junior college. my basketball coach called me to his office (which usually made anyone nervous). coach stotler explained how one of my professors came to pay him a visit that day (which made me even more nervous). he then explained that it was my drawing professor, joseph macfarlane, coming to express a concern for my future and wanted to make sure that my coach knew of my artistic abilities. he explained my level of skill in a way my coach could understand, since i would be going on to play two more years of basketball at a university to be determined, the highest level program i would be lucky to find myself in would be division 2. professor macfarlane told coach that when it came to making art, i was d1. that day i realized i'm not going to the nba and i could start shifting my life towards a longer term impact and art took hold fully.

two. how does where you are (personally, geographically, historically, etc.) impact the work you create? how does chicago factor into that equation, if at all?

my roots are in chicago, i grew up going to boulevard art center in englewood. i believe being rooted in a city known as blue collar and hard-working, alongside a family structure interested in similar ethics, provided me a strong base to do anything i set my mind to. the people of chicago make it great, the support people have here for each other is unlike any other. chicago is also a very affordable place for artists of all disciplines to take the time and flexibility to find their own way.

three. what is the role of the artist in today’s world, for you?

i don't think we can place any one specific role on artists today, but i feel more and more they are finding themselves capable of talking about any subject: social, political, emotional etc. in ways that are unique and perhaps more approachable than most conversation tactics. today i feel we are seeing people activate their artistic side, becoming entrepreneurs, and finding creative outlets necessary within any daily recipe. it's pretty awesome.

..follow joe online at thejoemiller.com and on instagram @thejoemiller

Manifest Chicago