Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Interview with Dave Miller
Q: The MAKING CHANGE Etsy team is for artists committed to activism. Please tell us what issues are important to you.
My work tends to be critical and political, and a lot of it is social commentary I suppose. I also seem to have a campaigning and troublemaking aspect to my work. I always try to make work that is informed and researched, and I aim to give a balanced approach. I've become very angry and fixated recently on the whole financial scandal that we're currently immersed in, and the injustice that we've all been handed by our governments and their masters, the banks. My work always has its core stories and drawings, though I like to work in a range of media, from Net Art to booklets and comics/cartoons.
Q: How is the idea of activism apparent in your art?
I think with the subjects I deal with, and way I approach them. I want to reach a lot of people, and inform them about things, to make people think and question. Mass market appeals to me, and I'm not comfortable with galleries, which I find generally elitist and not enough people see the work that way. I've started the Etsy shop recently, which I'm still not really sure is an appropriate place for my work - my low sales figures seem to back this up - but at least I think I can show my work to a lot of people that way. I think I need to be handing out leaflets really - pamphleting maybe - as this seems to be a more suitable way of spreading political messages, and more hands on. I'm just a bit scared of doing this!
Q: Do you think political and environmental issues can be effectively addressed in art?
Yes, as long as the work isn't political for the sake of it, and also if it's informed and balanced. I think integrity is important.
Q: Which artists do you admire who have an activist agenda?
I'm a big fan of Net Art, and am active in online communities such as Netbehaviour and Rhizome. There are many artists in this area I admire, such as Marc Garrett, Heath Bunting, Jason Nelson, and many more. Outside of Net Art there are also so many artists I like, but tend to forget their names quickly I must admit. I like Jeremy Deller, some bits of Emily Prince and Grayson Perry. I recently discovered Jess Douglas, who does lovely urban drawings. I always liked Jenny Holzer. I think the attitude is more important than the posturing, if you see what I mean. I like some of Banksy's work, but I think a lot of the street art thing is a bit phony, especially when it's bought by rich people and sells for lots of money. I'm in general very fond of digital art, so the old work of Harold Cohen I find very inspiring.
Q: Tell us something about your process of creating.
Mostly I write down ideas and brainstorms in my note books, and write lists of things to do, most of which never get done. But sometimes old ideas mix with new ones. I try to make something every day, and often planning goes out of the window, as usually I'm roused by a rush of passion or anger, with an urgent need to make something. Then I make it fast, usually drawing directly on the computer, and usually based on drawings or found photos.
Q: What is the name of your etsy shop?
At right: Dave Miller, "Trickle Down Hope"