We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Miller-Fitzgibbons and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve always surrounded myself with art, even from a young age. In more ways than one, the opportunity to expand my creativity through the visual arts has consistently influenced me in everything I do. When I got to the age where it was time to start steering myself into a specific career path, I automatically knew it was going to be in some form of art… but I wasn’t sure which one. I started my “Millart4You” drawing business and made my website the year I graduated from high school, but something didn’t feel quite right. After dedicating a few years to what I thought I was destined to do, I eventually discovered I wasn’t content with the idea of drawing or painting for a living. Drawing had always been a source of relaxation for me, and by turning it into my only form of income, it had turned what I enjoyed into more of a burden. It took me a few years before I was able to explore my love of photography and cinematography. While I definitely still enjoy fulfilling the occasional drawing or painting commission when they come along, my photography and video/cinematography projects take the cake in terms of my business and passion. Now having been in college for a couple years, I’m studying what I love and have been making connections with some wonderful people in my industry!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For me, being dyslexic had its moments when I was younger where it made me embarrassed to tell others, because I worried that it would change the way people saw or understood me. But, to my surprise, it did the complete opposite; my dyslexia has given me the ability to accept my shortcomings and recycle them into art that I can share with others. I think that every artist – and I do mean, “every” artist – is a struggling artist…just maybe at different levels of income. I’m well aware of how weird that probably sounds, but I think what I’m trying to say is this: each of us is different, yet all our views and styles seem to originate from the same thing, which is emotion. I feel that no matter the financial standing or background a person comes from, the emotion we put into our work is like none other. We put a part of our hearts out there for the world to see, and the success of our work is judged based on how *others* interpret it. Weird, right? But it’s almost like our way of life. Success for creative artists (from all levels) is not as focused on monetary gain as it is emotional fulfillment of our work. While the money is great (we’re not complaining), it can’t necessarily buy us back the sentiment we initially put out to the world. If people don’t accept our art for what it is when it’s exposed to the world for the first time, what does that say about the person it originated from? I think we as people get so wrapped up with the “what can we gain from this” mentality that we lose sight of the motivation behind the art. Dyslexics continue to offer a unique view/voice to life, and as a whole, dyslexia creates a new flavor of storytelling. For me, that’s specifically in photography and cinematography. My love of details and the unexpected is what I think makes my style different from others. Having that mutual understanding that yes, dyslexia makes me think, talk, and speak differently than most people has offered me a sense of belonging in society and makes me feel like I can give back in some way. It is something that allows me to see the world in a different light, which, in return, allows me to express my view in artistic ways that I might have missed otherwise. And, hopefully, I can inspire others to appreciate life’s amazing moments, one picture/film at a time.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Let’s face it, Arizona is a beautiful state to live in. There’s so many gorgeous places to visit it’s hard to name them all. I’ve actually shown family and friends all around Anthem before. Even though it’s a small city in relation to Phoenix or Scottsdale, it’s got some beautiful scenery like the Anthem Memorial and great shopping opportunities at the Anthem Outlets. Both places are great locations for photoshoots for people of all ages, and a wide range of stores and restaurants to visit. I had family from out of town stop by in Arizona last year, and we showed them around. They loved it so much they want to do it again soon!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
If I’ve said this once, I’ll say it a million times over until I’m blue in the face: my family has always been a constant source of comfort and encouragement for me. Specifically Pam Miller (my mom), Bill and Jon Miller (my brothers), as well as Bill and Gae Miller (my grandparents). Of course, that statement probably seems a bit cliché, but I truly don’t know where I’d be as a person if it weren’t for them. They’ve shaped me into the woman and artist that I am today, and there isn’t anything I’d ever trade for it. But, to make it fair, I’d also like to thank every teacher/professor I have had (you all know who you are) for being yet another source of encouragement and genuine support for me. I will forever be grateful for having gotten the chance to learn so much from each of you.
Photo of Emily Miller was taken by Pam Miller-Fitzgibbons All other photos credited to Emily Miller-Fitzgibbons