This month’s #SpotlightOn south east London artist Yvette Miller. Rosanna Head
Tell us about what you do?
I’m a geometric abstract artist who creates bold and bright pieces of work. I’m also a Christian and as I really wanted to marry my creativity with my faith the majority of my paintings are my visual interpretations of the Bible. In fact I’ve actually given myself a personal mission to create a new narrative for Christian themed art. I find that people often think that Christian art is all about doves and crosses but I’m determined to show people that it really doesn’t have to be that way. That faith expressed through art in the 21st century can afford to be fun and something that can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of whether you believe in God or not. That’s why you will find my work is quite playful and bright, and at first glance you wouldn’t even know that it had a Christian theme.
How did you get into your craft?
I never really think that I got into art but rather it got into me! My father was also an artist who specialised in drawing cartoons for various newspapers from the Caribbean Times to the Sun, so I guess you could say that I inherited his talent and love for art. However it’s only in the last 3 years that I’ve started taking my art seriously. I think I took long to make this decision because I didn’t go to art school and so never thought I’d have much to offer the art world. I was also scared of what people would think and that my work wouldn’t be good enough. I guess that as I’ve gotten older I no longer really care about other people’s opinions of me or my work.
What inspires you?
I get really inspired by brave art. When I say brave art I mean the type of art that makes people think and take notice. The type of art that paves a way for new thoughts and ideas while challenging peoples mindsets. That’s why I love the work of Alma Woodsey Thomas and Frida Khalo. They were both women whose work challenged the status quo of what was expected of them as women artists.
What is your most memorable piece of work either created by you or another artist?
I remember going to see the Sonia Delaunay exhibition at the Tate Modern a few years ago and falling absolutely in love with her painting entitled Le Bal Bullier. It was this huge landscape painting so rich with colour and movement. I think the art she produced was amazing. I mean her use of colour and technique created a whole new movement and artistic expression.
Is there a seminal moment in your life that has made a profound impact on you and your work?
When I first started painting I created a series of paintings based on Genesis, and I remember showing one of them to my neighbour. They later decided to buy it as a gift for someone and I remember feeling really humbled by this, as it was my first ever sale. The funny thing was that a few months later I was showing someone a picture of the painting I had sold as I’d posted it on my Instagram account and I didn’t really think anything of it.
However a few weeks later that same person said that they’d had a dream about this painting and that they really wanted to buy a copy. Luckily I had taken a photograph of the original and so I was able to get a print made up but the fact that my very first painting had an impact on 2 very different individuals really helped to banish my fears of becoming an artist and inspired me to continue painting.
What are your plans for the future?
My main plans for now are to paint lots. I’ll be taking part in the Urban Art Fair in Brixton again this July so the next few months will be focused on creating new pieces to show. (At time of writing not sure how the fair will take place.)
I’m also planning on building and launching a website soon which is something that has been on my mind for quite some time now so l’m really determined to get this done before 2021!
What are your favourite #SELondon spots?
I love the parks here, especially Hilly Fields and Telegraph Hill because the views are amazing on a clear day. I also love the Hill Station Café and the Hill Trader shop, which is situated within it. This shop is an absolute treasure trove of gorgeous arts and crafts made by local creatives, oh and it’s also the place where I sell my art!
Who would be your ideal fantasy dinner guest?
This may sound a bit weird but when I was younger I was absolutely obsessed with Native Americans. I was convinced that I would meet and marry one even Though I lived in Hackney! So I think that my guest would have to be this Native American called Cha-Oh-Ha (he was later called Crazy Horse). I would love to ask him lots of questions about his life and culture.
Find out more about Yvette Miller here https://instagram.com/yvettemillerlondon