Bryan Miller — Painter
Exploring Chance and Accident
Bryan Miller is a painter from Durham. He served in the US Navy during the first Gulf War. His service in the military ended in 1995, and then he pursued a college education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He graduated with a degree in biology. When he isn’t painting, he works full-time as a respiratory therapist at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte. He works in their Pediatric Cardiac ICU and cares for children born with congenital heart defects pre- and post-operatively.
The first semester of his senior year in college, Miller took a drawing class. “I loved it so much,” Miller says, “I decided to take a painting class my final semester and loved it even more!” He has been painting ever since.
Miller begins his paintings with a simple idea, and allows the paint to determine how that idea will be expressed. He doesn’t think about what the end product will look like. “I want a structured image but want that structure to come about by chance and accident.” To do this, he layers multiple colors of paint onto the canvas. He mixes the paint with gels and collage to help create texture, and he does almost all of his mixing directly on the canvas. “I smear and scrape the layers to bleed through.” Instead of using paint brushes, Miller uses large industrial sized pallet and putty knives. Miller says, “When I paint with brushes, I have a tendency to get caught up in the small details, which makes it hard to ‘let myself go.’” This lack of control helps Miller allow the paint to dictate where a piece goes. “The larger the putty knife, the greater degree of the chance and accident theme…I like not knowing what’s going to happen,” Miller continues. His process has evolved since he began painting. At first, Miller painted exclusively in oils, and now he uses only acrylics. “I started out painting abstract hearts on small rectangular canvases. There came a point where I felt limited by the object I was painting,” Miller says. In 2010, he made the transition to non-objective abstractions and says he has “found freedome in not being limited by the boundaries painting an object presents.”
One of Miller’s goals is to become a full-time artist.
His paintings range from $125 for a 12 by 12 inch painting to $800 for a 40 inch painting. All paintings 30 inch by 30 inch and smaller include frames.
“Painting and art in general has given me an outlet in which to explore and learn about myself in a way that no other medium has…I paint because it helps me maintain balance in my life that was missing,” Miller says. “If I never sold another painting, I would still continue to paint for the sheer joy I get from it.”