Fall 2021, Volume 31

Jack Miller

"AdDrawing 1"

"AdDrawing 2"

"AdDrawing 3"

"AdDrawing 4"

"AdDrawing 5"

"AdDrawing 6"

"AdDrawing 7"

"AdDrawing 8"
"AdDrawing 9"

"AdDrawing 10"
"AdDrawing 11"
"AdDrawing 12"

"AdDrawing 13"

Artist Statement:

I’m here to help you. I work as a liar and I do it well. Professionally. My bosses want to make you exchange your money and time for goods or services you don’t need. Or if you do need them, they want you to buy from who they say, not who might be better. I don’t care to meet you, but you feel like I’m intensely aware of your predicament. Hello, I’m a photographer’s model in the print advertising industry. Tell yourself that knowing how advertising works protects you from being duped again, used, tapped, touched, seduced, fooled, hornswoggled, gulled, misled. Everyone does! Me too. The results of advertising prove we’re fooling ourselves on that point.

The people and animals in print advertisements have perplexed me since I first puzzled through the Sears catalog as a toddler. Looking at each one for longer than any consumer probably ever has, seeking understanding and to be freed from perplexity, I began drawing them. Years go by. I’m still at it. 

I have so far learned the actual expressions of people in ads are often full of the complexity of lying, or at least reveal the self-awareness of an unimpressive actor, one not quite “in character.” While the headline tends to glee, satisfaction, smugness, triumph or concern, the subtext is commonly good old human suffering. A story of selling out for pay. Making believe to avoid discomfort. Willingness to get ahead of the next guy, to be envied.

I draw with pencil or archival pen while looking at print adds torn from newspapers, magazines, circulars. I omit anything that identifies the product. If there’s a blank area, a weird cropping of the human body, it’s them, not me. Scale is chosen by the subject and to fit the standard drawing pad sizes available from art supply stores. I include the drawing pad’s spiral ring holes to insist you not go 100% into image reverie. Sometimes I choose not to look at my drawing pad until I’m tired of looking at the ad—these images yield much greater distortion, but better map how the tones, colors, shapes of the ad ensnare the retinas.



About the Artist:

Jack Miller was accidentally born in Rochester, New York where the weather is often wrong, leaving much time for improving oneself indoors. Fated to love learning, and coming from a family of physicians and creative persons, he first earned a BS in math with an Honors Thesis exploring a fondness for the varieties of mathematical infinity. An MD from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and an MFA from California College of the Arts followed, with the result that he lives in San Francisco, makes drawings and paintings, writes stories, sings baritone in several choral groups and has served 15 years on the literary committee of the Magic Theatre, a company established to champion new plays. In the way of East Coasters who have fallen west, he expects to rationalize and commercialize his artistic pursuits tomorrow. Jack's neglected website and Instagram accounts could be updated in the future, or not. He would however be excited to receive email inquiries about a large solo or group exhibition themed to include my AdDrawing subjects. I have 100s of them. www.JackMillerArtist.com www.instagram.com/artistjackmiller/