While many artists take their craft from traditional to digital, CJ Miller’s artistic journey has been quite the opposite. CJ Miller, the nom de guerre of Christopher J. Miller, founded the marketing communications firm Rainmaker Advertising more than 20 years ago. His initial artistic training is rooted in computer graphics, marketing and visual communication but in 2000 he decided to explore traditional fine arts.
This journey began with several years tutoring/training with Mary Kathryn Collins, a Dallas artist and instructor who supported Mr. Miller in uncovering his unique artistic identity – sort of like uncovering your artistic thumbprint. For the last six years, he’s taken annual sabbaticals to train with Virginia Cobb in her Santa Fe, New Mexico, artist workshop. Ms. Cobb is known for her unique technique, detailed in her book, “Uncovering the Hidden Eye: Experiments in Water Media,” which is a result of years of teaching experimental workshops. She believes that every painting is an experiment, a philosophy Mr. Miller has embraced as a way to gain a deeper, more personal perception of the physical world.
Mr. Miller continues to explore methods of utilizing different tools and materials. He has experimented with mixed-media, graphite, chalk and crayon, and matte finished acrylics on canvas, wood and Strathmore 500 Bristol Board. He believes that painting is a spiritual expression which reflects his current vibration and belief systems.
Resonate Artist’s Statement
How Do You Resonate?
The act of making art helps me discover the importance of self-reflection. Initially, I realized that when I felt good or happy, my paintings ended successfully. When I felt critical or negative, my paintings lost their contrast and quickly became unclear, obscure and dark.
I have learned to focus on my emotional state and when my mind becomes dark and self-critical to step back, put the brush down and wait. When I’m not resonating in a positive manner, it’s time to walk away. In this way, each and every work represents a state of emotional balance.
Oh, it isn’t always easy. Sometimes I choose to fight my negative feelings and plow through the act of painting, only to discover that I ruin a great many works. While I’ve learned to follow my state, I sometimes still struggle with the urge to push through my negative feelings. More pain is more gain, is it not? It is not.
Too many of us think that only if we work hard and go against our own connection, we will be successful. After all, isn’t that what we’re taught from a very young age?
My work is a physical manifestation of following a string of bliss. I start each project by applying layers of color and stroke to the canvas. I do not plan, I trust the process. I continue to add layers until I find and isolate patterns of beauty. Where I find a component of splendor, I expand upon it. When I find something flat, murky and muddled, I paint it away. Each of my works is really a patchwork of small stories carefully seamed together to make a whole narrative.
My goal is to find and maintain a connection to my higher self, release any negative thinking and trust the process of discovery. In this sense, I find painting and any work of passion, a metaphor for life. Find your resonance and follow it.
Square One Artist’s Statement
How does one sum up a series of paintings? What’s the common thread? For me, it’s not the completed painting itself but the state achieved during the process of creation.
Some people call it “being in the zone.” Some call it “being in the groove.” And, more recently, people are calling it “being in the vortex.” It’s a state of timelessness, of gentle euphoric bliss. My paintings all flowed from this spiritual practice. They’re the result of attaining a meditative state of being in a space where time ceases to exist, when the ego ceases to prod and pester, when I simply “am” in the state of creativity.
Everyone has experienced this, but we all find our peace in different moments. Some choose to experience it through our work daily, and some of us choose to experience it once a year.
Athletes find it when they are in the midst of the game, while purely acting and reacting to the players around them. Their ego ceases to exist. They are in the zone.
Writers find it when they get lost in the words that flow from their minds to their fingertips. Programmers find it when they discover that hours upon hours have slipped by as they create new code. It’s that silence between the sounds.
I find it when I stand before the canvas and purely act and react with the brush, the paint, the canvas. I get lost in the viscosity of the paint, and the texture of the canvas or board. I become absorbed as color reacts to color. I lose track of time and my most successful endeavors don’t always create a beautiful piece of art, but they do bring me my own sense of connection … an ability to enter and maintain this sense of being in the vortex.
My paintings are merely the result of this meditative practice. I measure my success in the moments of creation, not the final product. Each and every painting in this exhibition is the result of my efforts to raise my vibration, to get into and stay within the vortex. With each painting I began by relaxing myself into a positive state and letting my inspiration flow.
I implore you to find these moments of being in the vortex in your daily life. What action, what passion, what process brings you this state? Is it a reflective moment drinking a cup of coffee in the garden? Does it arrive when washing dishes or mowing the lawn? Don’t try to force the moments, but let yourself gently fall within them.
Ideally, as you examine these works of art, on some level you’ll feel the connection the artist had during their creation. As you take a moment to stop and reflect on each painting, what do you feel? Let my paintings be measured by their emotional content. Or perhaps let them not be measured at all. Perhaps it’s about discovering the joy to simply … be.
Silence Between the Sounds Exhibit
8 feet wide by 30″ tall
Starry Night Artist’s Statement
several months ago, while waiting for an appointment, i read an interesting article in national geographic which discussed the disappearance of stars in the city skyline. of course, they’re still present, but the massive amounts of incandescent lighting being used in our urban skies is shielding them from our view.
i chose “starry nights” for the name of this exhibit for two reasons: one, because i always have been and will continue to be in awe of our nighttme sky. the majesty and detail is breathtaking and calls me to sit, stare and reflect on the magnificence of the universe. second, because the “loss of our stars” carries a deeper metaphysical meaning for me. i believe that this story is a metaphor for our connection to source and our true passions. the artificial lighting represents all the distractions of today’s world. often we find too many inner voices clamoring for our attention. pulling us back from focus. so many, in fact, that we lose sight of our north star:
“The north star has been historically used for navigation, both to find the direction of north and to determine latitude. It has been used by lost campers to find their way back home.”
it’s a challenge to maintain your focus and align yourself with your true calling in this sometimes overwhelming era. each painting in this series is stylistically unique. but each painting has one thing in common: they wer all created while i was consciously maintaining my connection to source. perhaps someday my work will filter down to one or two stylized looks. or perhaps, like the starry night, it will continue to change, to sparkle, to reveal new light.