inspiration - american boy

The  American Boy Series is about a young mischievous boy in his adolescent years. You will find him daring, cocky, and bold.  Kind of like our country, during its adolescents.  This young man does not understand "politically correct", nor does he care. He is having fun, despite consequences; perhaps this relates to you.  

My name is Shane Miller and I am the Artist. For this American Boy series, I spent over a year watching old movies from the 1930's to 1960's, predominantly focused on 1940's.  The reason was to capture that time period where PC was less a requirement but rather a cultural duty.  However, if one wanted to act foolishly or perform a stupid stunt, that was their prerogative. And that person could only blame them self for such an act, never anyone else. They were not "victims", simply morons.   

Our country was forged on this bold and triumphant risk taking. Which makes up our entrepreneur spirit to this day. 

emotion - american boy

American Boy is also forged from my adolescence between the age of 9 and 12 in the state of Kansas. During this time I had close intimate observations of a great and life long friend of mine, John. He was and still is outgoing, carefree, always positive and overall happy.  He is an inspiration for enjoying life, and if I could dedicate American Boy it would be to him.

John and I ventured (trespassed) from suburbia to a near by farmstead, where much of this inspiration was dreamed. From this bounty of nature we performed death defying acts in which these painting try to illustrate. It's a wonder we are still alive to this day.

GenesIs 3 - From the Artist

My first art experience was at the age of three. 

My mother was making a delivery, of my-self, to a newly secured preschool.  Immediately upon arrival mother and teacher where establishing the duplicity in which to snare my adolescent mind, for our conjoined separation. Cunningly, the teacher bequeathed a tower of visual stimulation upon me; an “easel”. My resistance was futile.

I remember the smell of chalk and plastic paint that filled the air, the depth of primary colors in each pail attached to the easel, the white canvas (cheap paper) before me, and the surgical artist apron that was carefully draped around me by my new helpful assistant, miss something or other.  “Good bye mother; or whatever…”

I first began slowly by viewing my selections of paint, noticing the viscosity without yet touching it.  Seeing other colors mixed in here and there and wondering how and why that would happen.  Then a short interruption by the kid next to me, clearly NOT an artist, with a few missing teeth and a great big friendly smile to prove it, he was all like “blah blah blah and this and that” and just shoved his entire hand in his paint as if he had no fingers at all, and flopped them on his paper like a dying fish.  I thought “What a (blank) idiot”!  Next that lovely assistant went crazy on me and grabbed my hand and proceeded (or attempted) to shove it in the Blue paint as if I had no idea what I was doing.  I exclaimed “Back off sister, I’m having a moment here!”  Fortunately she did not succeed. 

From there I reengaged, and stared at the blue pail; blue was my favorite color back then. What happened next took about 5 seconds, but I’ll slow it down for you.  The blue pail had some green and yellow swirls in as mentioned above and obviously haphazardly done by an amateur; and yes it was my first time but I had the common since to not mix the paints in the pails, who does that!  I then ever so slowly placed my “right” forefinger into the paint; odd because I’m left handed, perhaps I was saving it. The paint was cold.  I could feel its texture.  As my finger “pushed” into the paint it slowly surrounded my finger creating an indention into the paint. As I pulled it out the paint was much thinner than I expected as I could still see my finger through the paint, it was a bit transparent. For some reason I thought this was not the best quality paint; as if I knew.  I placed the finger in front of my face to closely examining the color, viscosity and how well it was starting to drip…! 

Then for the very first time in my life (all three years) I looked at the open canvas before me and with great passion and emotions I was going to bestow to the world a treasure it had never seen before!!! Well, I got painters block.  I was so caught up with what I could paint, all the ideas and emotions were almost overpowering for me.  But another 3 seconds and I placed my right index finger on the top right quadrant of the 16” wide by 24” tall paper and I made one single stroke in a quarter circle pattern going down and out to the lower left.

I took a half a step back to ensure the composition was correct and ponder the next stroke of genius. 

Then when I was about to really get started, that assistant of mine went crazy again!  “Ok class, art is over, time to pick up, blah blah blah…”  That’s all I remember, but it’s sufficient for me. It was my first art experience. I’ve been painting ever since.

FAQ's - to the artist

Where do you come up with such ideas? 

Its certainly easy or natural for me, like breathing. My mind requires that I constantly create. If I am not painting, I am thinking about painting, or sculpting, building, designing, etc. never ever stopping, all day every day, sun up to sun down, in a conversation or not, looking at you or off in the distance, I keep going and going, its uncontrollable, its apart of who I am, it can be annoying at times, and it does not shut off, its longer than this sentence. Every singly painting I make, there are at least 30 ideas that never see a sketch.

How do you paint like that?

Mostly by God given talent.  Also by years of focused observation by my schooling of art or any form thereof.  I can still remember great lengthy details, like my very first art experience at the age of three, or a specific project in a high school composition class. This remembering certainly helps. And of course having multiple skills and years of practice.  For example, taking a 10-inch metal concrete float trowel and whip a very low viscosity paint around an enormous soft delicate canvas may look easy, but it took years of working that trowel to make it so. Also, remembering all those basic rules of painting and continuing to learn new ones.    

OR simply - dedication and focus Jack!

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU?

Each painting takes 51 hours. Its called the 4-5-6 rule. 45 hours involves inspiration, design, preparations, material handling, etc.. It also involves running the business, website development, marketing,  advertisement, and sales.  The actual time hands are on the canvas is 6 hours +/-. But that's like saying "how long did it take to have that baby"; there is a little more involved then the delivery.  There is so much that goes into supporting those few 6 hours of blissful creation it would take a book to explaing it all.

Why do you paint in series?

I struggled with trying to focus on one style of painting, for years. And to this day I envy those who can. But for me I have realized and accepted that my drive for creating different things is overwhelming, and therefore I have decide to let it play out naturally.  It is simply the way I paint. I guess its my thing.