image of artist Steve Miller in front of his painting Making Waves


The people and places around me inspire my figurative and expressive landscape, still life, and portrait paintings. My paintings tell stories of connection and reveal moments introspection as I explore themes of family, memory and place.

As an acrylic painter, I’m inspired by the way light defines, color expresses and composition gives the illusion of movement. I challenge myself to invent new believable spaces, tame visual chaos and express complex emotions within a two-dimensional parameter.

My painting process is unapologetically experimental. I pay attention to the formal aspects and tactile nature of painting, but my approach to each painting is unique and depends on what I’m trying to accomplish or what ideas or discoveries develop along the way. My imagery is also influenced by my time working as an art director and graphic designer. I utilize digital tools to develop compositions, merge imagery, manipulate color and simplify forms to their expressive essence before I apply brush to canvas.  Recently however, I’ve used new tools like a vinyl cutter to finish paintings by layering the cut vinyl over the surface of a semi-abstract painting in order to define and complete the visual story.

Another influence on my art making process is my songwriting. Recently, I’ve been writing songs as counterparts to specific paintings. The song and the painting follow the same theme and go together allowing me the ability to tell a story beyond 2-dimension with lyrics and melody. By drawing from one medium to another, my ideas are kept fluid and inventive.

– Steve Miller


Steve Miller (b.1970) is visual artist living and working in the Detroit area.

Miller grew up in the college town of Norman, Oklahoma and graduated with a BFA in painting and printmaking from the University of Oklahoma in 1995. After graduating, he spent a decade working as an Art Director in advertising agencies in Dallas, TX and Chicago, IL. 

In 1999, Miller’s painting was licensed to be printed on 12 million 12-packs of Rolling Rock beer and promotional material, and the painting was reproduced as part of a giveaway poster series. This opportunity gave him the confidence to find a way to paint full-time.

He and his wife moved to Michigan in 2002 where he started working as a full-time artist. In 2006, they started their family and Miller chose to be a stay-at-home dad. They have two teenage daughters who inspire and challenge him.

Since then, he’s exhibited and has been published in art communities around the country, but primarily exhibits in and around Detroit. Recently, Miller won the Corinne Maillard Robinson Award in the 38th annual Michigan Fine Arts Competition at the BBAC. He also won 1st Place from Canvas Pontiac, and Best of Show from Embrace Creatives.

Photo of the Hiatus - Steve Miller's art, design, and music studio.


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