By SHERIDAN SMALLEY, UW News Lab
Ballard resident and local artist Andrew Miller, whose street-art mentality has made his work a fixture in the neighborhood, has been nominated as a People’s Choice finalist to receive a City Arts Art Walk Award.
“I’m very honored to be involved in this,” Miller says. “I feel really comfortableand confident in the art community.”
Hosted each season by City Arts Magazine, the Art Walk Awards “aim to help promote vital art communities throughout Seattle,” according to the City Arts website. The winter Awards feature 10 finalists: nine chosen by City Arts representatives, and a 10th to be selected by public vote as a People’s Choice finalist. Miller is one of 70 local artists to have one of their works nominated for the latter category.
“Beacon East,” the piece that earned Miller his Art Walk Awards nomination.
While he admits that it’s rewarding to have his work noticed, recognition, he says, is not his goal.
“I’d just like people to be able to see it, to sell it, to own it,” he says. “I like the pieces I create to go with the right people.”
Born and raised in the Seattle area, Miller has been an artistic presence for over a decade with recognizable works such as the “Ballard Loves You” painted fixtures as well as a series of colorful building murals and painted panels displayed on utility poles throughout the city. His artistic range is far from limited—over the years he’s dabbled in everything from drawing to painting to film to photography to sculpture.
“Andy is one of the most diverse artists I’ve ever met,” says fellow local artist Ryan Henry Ward, who has often collaborated with Miller. “He approaches [art]with just an incredible raw energy.”
One of Miller’s famed “Ballard Loves You” creations, on a wall in the lot behind Sloop Tavern. Photo by Sheridan Smalley
One collection Miller is particularly passionate about is his oil-painted and ink photography, a distinctive approach he largely pioneered. In this process, Miller transforms his black-and-white photographs into abstract, animated creations by hand-painting their surface or drawing over the image with ink. The piece that earned him the Art Walk Awards nomination—a portrayal of a Beacon Hill industrial scene entitled “Beacon East”—is one such ink photograph.
However, Miller hesitates to define his style.
“I would just call it perceptual,” he says. “It’s anything that people would like to look at and see in their own way.”
In addition to being a full-time artist, Miller works as assistant director of school-age programs at the Ballard Community Center, and maintains an art studio called“Full Circle” with a handful of fellow artists.
Regarding the competition, the nomination itself is an honor enough for Miller, who personally knows a number of the other nominees.
“I feel very fortunate to be in a group of this many artists that are just so talented,”Miller says. “Regardless of what happens, just being in this situation nominated with these people is high enough for me.”
Voting for the People’s Choice finalist ends Friday, Jan. 18. (To vote, click here.) If Miller is chosen, he will be eligible to win one of three awards—first, second orthird place—at the Art Walk Awards celebration Thursday, Jan. 24 at 1927 Events in Downtown Seattle.
More of Miller’s art can be viewed on his website.
(SHERIDAN SMALLEY is a student in the University of Washington Departmentof Communication News Laboratory.)