Brad Miller | Episode 337
Brad Miller is an artist currently working out of his studio in Venice, CA. Brad received his MFA from the University of Oregon in 1977. From 1980 thru 1992 Brad worked at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado. He served as Executive Director at the Ranch from 1984 thru 1992. Since 1992 Brad has focused on his studio practice. Brad’s work is in numerous museums collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Denver Art Museum, The Brooklyn Museum and The Renwick Gallery.
Number 1 brand in America for a reason. Skutt.com
For all your ceramic needs go to Georgies.com
Why do you do what you do with clay? What is the purpose behind it?
That’s a good question. I think that all the work I do, I am just kind of in love with patterns in nature and I feel like everything is a pattern that we understand. For instance, my voice is a sound pattern or you look at leaf and it’s a pattern. I like how nature repeats itself and I like how it repeats itself and in a lot of my bowls there’s a pattern but it’s somewhere between order and chaos. I like that area, not knowing what I am going to get. So it’s just a love of pattern and nature. I think it’s one of the more important things to understand about our universe.
What is the value of hard work as an artist?
All the successful artists I know are workaholics. In some ways I fail compared to how many of my colleagues work. It’s amazing to watch someone have a career. I’ve got a quote on my computer here , Chuck Close talks about you got to the studio and you work, and you work, and you work, and from the work ideas come. It’s not the other way around. A lot of students have to figure out what it’s going to be before they do it, and it’s never going to be what they thought anyway, you just have to make it, and react to it and keep going with it. If it’s a good idea it will keep generating work for you.
What role do you feel the artist has in this modern, technologically driven society?
I have no idea except for me I know it is important to go see what historically has been made and what is contemporarily being made in the broadest sense of the visual arts world and music and all the arts. But I guess I am primarily into the visual arts way of understanding the universe. There are very urban concerns and very political concerns that show up in the arts and mine is more about the natural world and understanding how pattern affects how we are. Basically DNA is a pattern, you know? I am working on the most simple little patterns but knowing that that is all physical manifestations. I think there is chaos and order and we just don’t understand the chaos. There’s a pattern in that chaos that is too hard to decipher.
When you are looking at your own work what do you admire most about what you do?
I guess what I admire most about what I do is a fairly singular look at the world. There is a lot of unique ways that I work. I like that about what I do. My work is ideas driven not materials driven. I have been working a lot using soaker hoses and making sculptures out of them and hanging them on the wall. It’s all about bisymmetry. I have been doing a lot of accordion folds that really relate to those sculptures. The ideas in a sense do keep driving the work but you have got to work.
How do you go about pricing your work?
I trust galleries on that. I have a couple of galleries with long term relationships and they give me feedback if I think it is too high or I think it is too low and we work it out. It is a supply and demand thing.
How does social media influence your making process?
I don’t think social media influences my work very much. Also traveling, and spending all that time in Italy, I don’t think it directly influences the work. What I get when I go to Italy and I see the Sistine Chapel or I see a beautiful building, what I am inspired by is how hard people worked and what they could accomplish in a lifetime and that always just blows me away.
If you had a choice between happiness and wealth, which would you take and why?
I would go with the happiness. I know too many people with a lot of money who are not very happy. This are your basic needs that need to be met, but beyond that, people don’t get any happier. So I will take happiness, that means my basic needs are met at least.