I met Shane Miller online through the Nashville Creative Group, led by Beth Inglish, and had the pleasure of meeting him in person more recently at the Nashville First Saturday Art Crawl. I hope you might be able to see his work in person at some point...it almost seems to glow (especially his encaustic pieces).
Shane begins his Artist Statement with "Nos•tal•gia: A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations." And, I think this is so much of what draws me into his work. For me, his pieces have a meditative quality, which I am ever finding in my own photographic work. So, please, take time to really take in Shane's feature.
What does Creativity mean to you?
To me, creativity is simply the word for an individual’s personal expression from what is innately inside. Creativity means I am allowed to outwardly express my inward feelings with those around me.
How do you expand yourself creatively?
I believe the only way to really expand yourself creatively is through labor hours with your craft. For me, that means spending hours with the paintbrush attempting new techniques and honing in on existing techniques.
Were you creative as a child? If so, how have you evolved through the years? Did anyone encourage you, especially?
Absolutely. I have vivid childhood memories sitting in elementary school sketching detailed landscapes. My mother facilitated a creative environment for me while growing up. She hired a watercolor artist to tutor me throughout my early teenage years.
What inspires you most?
Rainy days with Bon Iver and a cup of coffee.
Do you daydream often? If so, does it inform your work?
I find myself constantly lost in my mind throughout the day. At times it can be difficult for me to stay present when surrounded by people. I find myself always thinking of ideas to paint and how I will approach my next piece.
How do you care for yourself to ensure you’re available when ideas present themselves?
Over a year ago I left my full time day job to pursue painting and music. I found that nearly every day around eleven AM at work, I would feel very creative. I always felt trapped at work. By the time I would get home in the late afternoon, I felt the creativity was gone and I had a hard time bringing myself to paint. Now that I paint full time, I really enjoy having the morning and early afternoon to focus on art.
How do you deal with creative dry spells? Do you make space for them, or push through?
On any given day there are usually things relating to art that I can work on that don’t necessarily require a lot of creative energy. If I wake up and can’t seem to find a creative mindset, I will take that day to prep canvases, install hanging hardware, take care of emails, and so on.
How does criticism affect you?
I try to take heart to what Norman Vincent Peale once said -- “The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” I feel like a lot of creatives have a hard time accepting criticism and differentiating the positive criticism from the feeling of personal attack. We are all proud of what we create because we are opening our emotions to those around us. When someone criticises what we create, it can cut deep.
When I receive criticism, I first assess from whom I am receiving the criticism. If it is someone whom I respect in the art realm, I step back and really digest what they are saying.
Do you have any other mediums you use to express yourself creatively?
When I’m not painting I am usually traveling with a country artist as a guitarist. I also enjoy songwriting and poetry.
Do you enjoy collaborating, or prefer to work alone?
It would depend on the project, but in general, I enjoy working alone.
Do you work in a studio/space designed specifically for your creativity, or on the spur of the moment/anywhere inspiration strikes?
I nearly always work in my studio space. I am a creature of habit and enjoy the familiarity of my studio.
Do you plan thoroughly for projects, or go with the flow?
I always go with the flow. The day I start a painting is usually the same day as the painting’s inception. I do not create value sketches and rarely pencil anything on the blank canvas. I like diving right in with paint on the blank canvas, mapping out my values and composition as I go.
Do you have a preferred way of cataloguing ideas?
I wish I did, but unfortunately, no. Perhaps that is why I am constantly lost in my mind!
Do you utilize social media? If so, how?
Do you have any rituals that help to set your creative time and/or space?
I find myself most creative in the morning. When I wake up, I make myself a pot of coffee and take time to read a book and enjoy my first cup of coffee. I always sit in a particular chair in the house. After morning quiet time, I feel my mind is open and cleared of clutter to begin painting.
Does spirituality and/or culture play a role in your creativity?
I believe my creativity is God given. I try to thank him as much as possible for allowing me to utilize my creativity and fulfill my life in that way.
What effect do you want your art to have on the world?
A lot of my work is nostalgic. I want everyone to be able to view my work and feel peace with the emptiness and longing for home; if only it be for a moment.
What music, if any, plays while you work? What are you listening to at this very moment?
I listen to a lot of indie folk and ambient music while I paint. I have to have music going while I am painting. At this very moment I am listening to Ryan Adams.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
I will never forget what Damian Stamer once told me, “There is no way around the months and months of painting everyday. Anyone can give you advice, but it is when you spend the hours painting that you will truly grow.” There is no way around the labor. The countless hours, hours, and more hours of painting is where I find growth.
Do you have any advice for aspiring creatives?
Listen to your heart and inner voice. Foster those innate talents and always make time to create. If not, you will not truly find happiness in life.
Do you have any favourite books?
Do you have any upcoming projects/collections to share?
During the Germantown Art Crawl, I will be holding an open studio for visitors to view my current work, along with live painting.
Germantown Art Crawl
100 Taylor St, Nashville, TN 37208
Saturday, October 15, 4-9p
Do you have a favourite quote?
“Action is the foundational key to all success.” -Pablo Picasso
Where can we find your art?
Find my art at: