n our warp-speed universe, ten years is an eternity. Yet that is how
long it has taken artist JD Miller to perfect his signature style. Miller
calls himself a Reflectionist, saying, “The philosophy came about
when I was in the music business. It is a belief that what you put out
in the universe is reflected back.” He adds, “I had a creative vision
when I was four years old. I have single-mindedly pursued art and
music since then.” At 16, Miller decided to focus on his music career.
As an undergraduate at the University of North Texas, he founded
a music syndication studio. But while still in school, he discovered
ceramics and soon changed his major to visual art. He subsequently
entered Texas Woman’s University’s graduate program in sculpture
and ceramics. He began oil painting 18 years ago and it is for this
that he is best known.
Miller credits his early interest in art to his childhood
environment. Now 60, he says he grew up watching cartoons. His
father, a former executive with Moore Business Forms, would bring
home rolls of paper nearing their end. Using colorful crayons and
brilliant imaginations, JD and his brother, Scot, would create 50’
space dioramas. This inspired both of them into careers in the arts.
Scot Miller is a photographer and owner of Sun to Moon Gallery in
the Design District.
JD Miller believes that there are no coincidences. Indeed, all
of his experiences have coalesced into the work he does today. He
explains, “One night I squeezed oil paint onto my palette and saw
a blob. I thought it looked like sculpture.” Using a mixing knife, he
put it onto his canvas. “From that moment, I started this 3-D oil
technique,” he says. In seeing the possibilities within one dollop of
oil paint, he adds, “If I hadn’t been a potter, I never would have
made that connection.”
At this point, his music and art careers have dovetailed. He still
plays in a band, called “Reflection Theory.” At least once a year, he
will give a performance in his studio in which he alternates playing
music with creating a painting. His live performances, which he also
does for several charities, are one of the many ways in which Miller
shares his technique with others.
He is also generous with other artists. Reflectionism and 3-D oil
paintings are, for him, schools of art. He has mentored about 12
painters who now make their living using this technique. Among
them is Philip Romano, with whom he founded Samuel Lynne
Galleries in 2008, where the work of both artists can be seen.
Miller is an avid student of the French Impressionists. He says,
“I studied Van Gogh’s work extensively. He was the first to create
sculptural work in paint.” In their lifetime, the work of this group
of artists was reviled. Only one bold gallerist, Paul Durand-Ruel,
chose to exhibit their work. Miller posited to Romano that they be
the Durand-Ruel of Dallas, showing primarily Reflectionist work.
The Gallery has been successful. But to achieve national and
international recognition, it needed directors with a global reach.
With the arrival just over two years ago of Karen and Michael Bivins,
that goal came into sight.
After careers in law and corporate finance, respectively, Karen
and Michael have spent the past 20+ years in the art world. Following
years of buying and selling works for their own collection, they
JD Miller, Mystic Snow, 2014, 3-D oil on canvas, 48 x 36 in.
JD Miller, Dark Winds, 2014, 3-D oil on canvas, 60 x 48 in.