• Anna Cost for POLYCHROME

Artist spotlight: Danielle Rae Miller

Danielle Rae Miller POLYCHROME fine artist

One of POLYCHROME’s longest standing artists, Danielle Miller, lives and works in Albuquerque, NM. She is known for her beautiful and intricate nature-inspired pieces. Danielle sat down with us to tell us about her artwork, inspirations, and upcoming exhibit.

Take a look through some of gorgeous exclusive prints Danielle has in our collection from left to right :

Snakes and Insects | Leonore | Rice Field | Fawn and Iris | Dark Secret Placement | Snakes and Insects

Thea: How early on in your childhood did you decide to become an artist?

Danielle: Really early! I mean, I don't know that it was a decision... It seems like something that's sort of always been. Some of my earliest memories involve artsy things. There was an easel in a garden in summer, where I used finger paints, and a dance class where the teacher told us to pretend to walk through peanut butter...

Danielle's piece below "Hungering" in ceramic

Hungering - South Broadway Cultural Center NM

Thea: What school did you attend, or where did you first start to train for your art career? Tell us a bit about your experience - what was your area of study?

Danielle: I started in high school. I had two amazing art teachers at Loveland High School (Colorado), who taught me so much, and who helped me build a portfolio to apply to art schools. I have only ever pulled one all-nighter, and that was in high school when I was working on my portfolio. That portfolio got me to RISD, where I met you, dear Thea. You and I were both sophomores in the Apparel program, but that summer, I realized I wasn't interested in the fashion industry, so I transferred to Printmaking, and finished my degree there. A couple years after RISD, I went to grad school at the University of New Mexico, and got my MFA in Printmaking.

Thea: What is a typical day of work for you?

Danielle: I get up early, sometimes before dawn. I make myself a cup of strong black tea with milk, feed my menagerie of pets, and go out to the studio. On a good day, and if I don't have to go teach, or drive my almost-teenager somewhere, I'll work into the early afternoon, and then take my dogs for a walk in the Bosque (a wooded area around the Rio Grande river) near my house.

Danielle working on a new piece for her upcoming exhibit:

Thea: What is inspiring to you? What do you do when you feel "blocked" creatively - how do you get unstuck?

Danielle: I'm inspired by so many things. Patterns in nature - leaves and plants and rocks on the forest floor; tree branches, and the negative spaces of blue sky between them. Yesterday, on a walk, I found an abandoned wild honeycomb at the base of an old cottonwood tree. I also love botanical illustrations, and wallpaper patterns. Cabinets of curiosity (I loved the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab at RISD). While I have experienced many creative "blocks", I don't tend to think of it as blockage anymore...I think of it as a sort of break, a resting period, between bodies of work. So I use the time to play. I try to pay attention to what feels good, what I feel drawn to, and I just keep moving toward the things that make me curious. In the last one I had, I was obsessed with blue color fields, and was making ceramic bowls. I started decorating the bowls with blue patterns, sort of like Delftware, but all my own doodling. Then started doing the line-work--doodling--on paper. And that eventually led me to the body of work I'm making now.

Thea: I know you teach at Central New Mexico Community College and the Institute of American Indian Arts. How does being a teacher of other creatives fuel your own work ?

Danielle: I feel so grateful to teach at the college level! It's pretty amazing that I get to spend my work days in conversations about something I love (art), with people who are interested in learning about it! (at least they mostly pretend to be -- Ha!). While there isn't always a direct correlation between what I teach and what I make, it's such an immersive experience. Sometimes it feels like I live my life in an art bubble.