Statement, Interview & Resume


I am fascinated by perseverance and find this primordial instinct and necessity of life to be both noble and suspect, especially when the path is perilous and end bodes to be bleak.  

My work explores the sublimity of existence through a post-apocalyptic environment emblematic of death, disaster, and desolation, without abandoning subtle indications of hope and beauty. The imagery and subject matter depicted allows for an open-ended inquiry into the bewildering human condition, and may address an extensive range of contemporary issues.

The paintings I create contain images that come from multiple direct and indirect visual sources, which are conflated, recontextualized, altered, and translated into paint through a long studio process that often takes months to complete. Inspiration is found in a profusion of life experiences and references that include but are not limited to observation, imagination, memory, subconscious thought, happenstance, literature, periodicals, film, art history, and the web. Intrigued and mystified by consciousness, purpose, and delusion, I seek out the metaphorical gray in paint and am delighted when my images raise open-ended questions that are subject to interpretation.

I take refuge in the power and versatility of oil paint and have deep respect and appreciation for its immediacy, history, and transformative visual capabilities. I use traditional painting techniques where a dark and rich color palette creates the subdued tones and distressed atmosphere associated with destruction, while bright cautionary cadmiums break through the darkness to present an alarming beauty.

In which direction does the road lie? We seek answers to the many questions of life and are seldom pacified. As conscious beings we have emerged from infinite mystery, and into mystery we’ll return. In the end we may find that mystery is all there is. Until then, may these paintings be an enduring reminder of the end as we peregrinate.

Interview by Miranda Anderson

1. Can you tell me a little about what made you decide to be an artist?


I don't remember making a choice. In my life making art and being were inseparable. I think if a choice was made, it was that I decided to not be something else. I put all effort into my practice and was supported by family, friends, teachers, and patrons, which made the artist lifestyle seem possible.  


2. Are there any artists who inspired your work growing up or who inspire your current work?


In the small isolated town that I grew up in there wasn't a lot of emphasis on art. Most art was found in taxidermy or a wildlife print. I remember using imagination a lot and this lead to artistic creation, which found shape in pictures of jets and exploding bombs. I found inspiration for making paintings in the large murals that high school students painted for hallways. When I was in high school I learned a little about the history of art, visited art museums and really appreciated the works of Edward Hopper, Vincent van Gogh, and Andrew Wyeth. Later I discovered the works of Francisco Goya, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Anselm Kiefer, and Odd Nerdrum. As time has passed, I've come to appreciate a broad spectrum of artists and am continuously finding inspiration in the works of others.



3. I notice in your artist statement and in viewing your paintings that they deal with some ambiguous or mysterious concepts such as consciousness, death and purpose- what it is that interests you about these ideas?


I'm interested in the human condition and these concepts seem appropriate. From what I understand, we are the only species that is aware of the inevitability of our own death and can imagine a world where we don't exist. I'm fascinated by what people are capable of when pushed to extremes and are confronted with a disastrous environment. I find that purpose and the pursuit of hope in a hopeless world is tragically beautiful and ennobling.



4. Can you describe what your work process is like?


I often start with concepts for paintings that I write down in a sketchbook. They are usually very vague descriptions sometimes coupled with a very simple thumbnail sketch. Then I look for models and reference materials that will aid in my development of the painting. I conflate imagery from multiple sources and start on a composition. The studio process is quite intensive taking months to complete a single painting, though I'm often working on several at a time. During this time the images found within a picture change. Some are lost in the layers, some surface, while others persist. Each work evolves as I grow in understanding it. I know a work is finished when it doesn't ask anymore from me. Then I move on. As time passes I often feel I don't know it anymore.   


5. What is the best piece of advice you have received as an artist? Do you have any advice for students who are looking to be a professional artist?


The best advice I received was to make sure that I always keep up my practice. Never stop.


My advice for students who are looking to be a professional artist is to go for it and have no regrets. Realize that art is a lifestyle. It is not a hobby, a job, or a career. You have to make art your life. It's been an extraordinarily gratifying and fascinating way to live life.




2007 - M.F.A. - Painting - University of WI - Madison

2006 - M.A. - Painting - University of WI - Madison

2003 - B.F.A. - Painting and Graphic Communications - University of WI - Oshkosh


2013 - Second Place in the Category of 2-D - CVG Show 2013 - Selected by Alfredo

Arreguin - Collective Visions Gallery - Bremerton, WA

2012 - Faculty Stipend Award - Development of New Paintings - Selected by the Faculty

Stipend Committee - Peninsula College - Port Angeles, WA

2009 - Best Artwork - 2009 Issue of Crosscurrents - Selected by the Washington

2005 - Edith L Gilbertson Scholarship - "Advancing the Field of Art” - Selected by the UW

Department of Art - Madison, WI

2003 - Best of 2-D - UWO Honors Exhibition - Allen Priebe Gallery - Oshkosh, WI


2013 - The Present End - Laura Russo Gallery - Portland, OR

2010 - The Salvaged - Lower Columbia College Art Gallery - Longview, WA

2009 - The Salvaged - Port Angeles Fine Arts Center - Port Angeles, WA

2008 - One from Wisconsin - Museum of Wisconsin Art - West Bend, WI

2007 - The Salvaged - Porter Butts Gallery - University of WI - Madison, WI


2013 - First Light - Bainbridge Island Museum of Art - Rachel Feferman Gallery -

   Bainbridge Island, WA

2012 - Expressions West - Coos Art Museum - Coos Bay, OR

2010 - Back to New York - HP Garcia Gallery - New York, NY

2010 - Referencing the Past - Seattle Art Museum Gallery - Seattle, WA

2008 - Winter Group Salon - Denise Bibro Fine Art Gallery - New York, NY


2008 - Current - Associate Professor of Art - Painting, Drawing, Art History - Peninsula

College - Port Angeles, WA

2008 - Lecturer - Painting, Illustration, Introduction to Studio (2-D) - Carthage College -

Kenosha, WI

2008 - Assistant Professor - Illustration - Herzing College - Madison, WI

2007 - 2008 - Lecturer - Intro to Painting, Plein-Air Painting - University of Wisconsin -

Madison, WI

2007 - 2008 - Lecturer - Drawing and Composition, 2-D and 3-D Design - Carroll

University - Waukesha, WI


2013 - Art Access -Viva BIMA! - Kathy Cain - Vol. 22, No. 3 - July/August/September 2013

2013 - Preview - Vignettes - Preview Graphics Inc. - Selected by Allyn Cantor -

Vol. 27, No.1 - February/March 2013

2013 - Studio Visit Magazine - The Open Studios Press - Selected by Jonathan Greene -

Vol. 20 - Winter 2013

2012 - Studio Visit Magazine - The Open Studios Press - Selected by Trevor Richardson -

Vol. 17 - Spring 2012

2011 - Studio Visit Magazine - The Open Studios Press - Selected by Ian Berry - Vol. 15 -

Fall 2011


2013 - The Seattle Times - Bainbridge's new art museum: eclectic selection for every taste

  - The Arts - Essay by Michael Upchurch - August 2013

2011 - The Peninsula Daily News - 25! A Silver Milestone - Peninsula Spotlight - Essay by

Diane Urbani de la Paz - October 2011

2011 - Saatchi Online Magazine - Walking the Line Between Elegant and Eccentric - Art

News - August 2011

2010 - The Badger Herald - Wisconsin Native Refuses to Paint by Society’s Numbers -

Essay by Francis Bea - March 2010

2009 - Sequim Gazette - Young Artist with Strong Style - January 2009


2013 - Juror - Art Convergence - Port Angeles Fine Arts Center - Port Angeles, WA

2012 - Judge - Bliss: The Art of Love - The Landing Gallery - Port Angeles, WA

2010 - Current - Member of the PAFAC Board of Directors - Port Angeles, WA

2009 - Current - Director - PUB Galley of Art - Peninsula College - Port Angeles, WA

2009 - Judge - Small Expressions VIII - Northwind Arts Center - Port Townsend, WA

Michael Paul Miller, The Calling, 60x84,  oil on canvas,  2007

Michael Paul Miller