Justin Miller tells us a little about his art and the inspiration for this beautiful piece:
was raised in Western Kansas, and love the open prairie. My childhood memories are filled with visions of vacant horizons dotted with grain elevators, oil tanks and farm equipment. These structures still influence my work as I deal visually with the coexistence of nature and industry. Each of my pieces illustrates a portion of my spiritual journey to discover how my experience is connected to transcendent Truth.
I was trained in intaglio and stone lithography, but my professional artwork has developed mainly in the area of linoleum relief printmaking. I usually compose my images directly on the linoleum block in pencil, then define my sketches with a sharpie marker. Once inked, I plan for 20-40 hours of carving, then its off to the press. I have a variety of printing presses at my disposal including etching presses, proof presses, and even a 3000 lb. floor model letterpress. It seems I may have some issues with hoarding equipment. Each press has quirks that make it preferable for certain types of images. I bought the large letterpress because of its ability to print large areas and register multiple colors. In fact, I had already cut the blocks for the print entitled “Jumping Off Point,” then acquired and restored a press so that I could print it.
umping Off Point” was inspired by the death of my Aunt Emiko. She met and married my uncle when he was stationed in Japan with the Navy. They lived on the West coast, and rarely visited Kansas when I was young. As a result of distance, and our cultural differences, I feel like I barely knew Emiko.
About the time I entered Middle School, my Uncle Jim retired from the Navy, and moved with his family to Bazine, KS. I was awkward, but Emiko was always kind to me. She and Jim reached out to me, planning for my visits, taking me fishing, opening their home to me when the adults gathered some place else.
Emiko struggled with cancer for the past few years. Her life had become less than comfortable, and ended unexpectedly in relation to a surgery. With Emiko’s fragility, and my small children, we had not made contact in quite some time. With her passing, I was suddenly aware of how often I had passed up opportunities to get to know her better, or even to stop and say hi. I know I am not alone in feeling this way after a death, but that doesn’t change my hopelessness.
This print is in response to Emiko’s passing. I borrowed some waves from traditional ukiyo-e prints, and used a Japanese fishing boat. The transcending ladder and abandoned ribbon are my own symbols.