We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian Miller and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I definitely think I’m wired a bit differently than most people. Metaphorically when other people are running out of a burning building, I am the one running in. When I was fresh out of school working as an art-director for a large tech start-up I quit to work in comic books and sci-fi popular culture as an illustrator. At the time all the reports were of an industry that was dying and a bubble that had burst. Back then companies like Marvel were on the verge of bankruptcy and the common belief was it was time to get out just as I had decided to try and get in. People in my life thought I was crazy or foolish. For the first few years family members would ask when I was going to get a, “real job”. I am sure from the outside it appeared I was throwing my life away. I believed in my vision and my artwork and within a few years started landing high-profile projects with Marvel, DC, Disney, and others. While at the same time the pop-culture entertainment industry experienced explosive growth. I ended up being just where I was needed most at the right time.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My artwork in heavily influenced by the past. I am a fan of old cinema posters, vintage advertising, WWII enlistment artwork, Worlds Fair attraction art, and art nouveau as well as architecture, furniture, and fashion. All of these influences are reflected in my artwork. As an example I have created popular series Star Wars illustrations in the style of WWII propaganda artwork. All the recognizable cues are there yet illustrated in a way that feels natural for the Star Wars universe. While most of my illustrations have a vintage aesthetic the goal is always to create something iconic and timeless. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to create artwork for Doctor Who, G.I. Joe, The X-Files, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, The Simpsons, and many other iconic pop culture touchstones. I joke that as a kid I would get teased on the playground for playing with my Star Wars action figures or bringing Doctor Who comic books to school. Now everything I loved as a kid has become more popular than ever and I experience joy from illustrating those characters every day and sharing them with others. One of the collaborations I am most proud of is the series of Star Wars Hot Wheels I created artwork for. Somedays I just feel like the luckiest person in the world. One area of my artwork that may not receive the spotlight is my personal commitment to science and education. I have the great pleasure of participating in educational programs and contributing illustrations to The Maastricht Institute, London Business Journal, and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination. In addition I have upcoming projects with The Smithsonian, as well as a growing body of NASA inspired space exploration artwork.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When friends visit Phoenix I try to take them locals only hotspots. We would probably hit UnderTow for tiki cocktails before heading out to Taco Guild for eats. If they were up for some local hiking I really enjoy McDowell Mountain in the DC Ranch area or Skyline Regional Park in the West Valley which both offer trails for beginners to advanced hikers and spectacular views. If there was time for a day trip we would have to make the run up Yarnell Hill to Prescott and enjoy lunch on the courthouse square and Whiskey Row before heading north through Jerome and to Sedona where we enjoy dinner creekside at L’Auberge de Sedona. Back in the valley for a day of leisure around Scottsdale starting with breakfast at Butters Pancakes & Cafe followed by some sightseeing around Old Town Scottsdale (don’t miss the galleries), and we would end up at LON’s at The Hermosa Inn for a dinner celebrating our guests.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Lucasfilm and ACME Archives. They took a chance on me, bringing me into the world of Star Wars. They gave me the opportunity to play in the Star Wars sandbox and interpret Star Wars in my style. This gave me the chance to share my artwork with Star Wars fans the world over including events like Star Wars Celebration, Disney’s D-23 Expo, and EPOCT International Festival of the Arts. I am a lifelong Star Wars fan and having the pleasure to illustrate Star Wars is a dream come true. It would not be possible without the amazing people at Lucasfilm and the official licensee who represents and markets my Star Wars artwork, ACME Archives.
Other: BeHance: behance.net/oktopolis Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/artvidsbnk
All artwork by Brian Miller. Photos provided by Brian Miller (no professional photographer used).