Geoffrey Owen Millar is one of those deep-thinking people who seems like he must have had the ideas of a 70-year-old when he was still padding around in diapers. Growing up in Northern New Mexico, a place he describes as "a crossroads of new-world and old, science and religion, man and God," Geoffrey remembers his schoolroom windows rattling, as science continued to move forward in a way that included explosions. His own playtime, of course, was spent in canyons, just feet above radioactive waste that had been buried after the development of the atom bomb. You know, just another day on the playground....
But as wacky as Geoffrey's childhood seems, it is this environment that spawned his very astute philosophy: What we see, we believe, yet what we perceive is but a fraction of a whole. And, as Geoffrey continues to explore said whole further, we New Yorkers are gifted with Geoffrey's incredible abstractions, which, in a way, are the incarnation of his search for meaning beyond the individual. Woahthat was, like, way existential.
Let's bring things down a notch by finding out a little more about the artist beyond just his art:
SCOUT: How would you describe your art to someone who’s never seen it?
GEOFFREY: My art usually involves abstraction, is often pattern-based and is sometimes geometric. My current work looks like Sci-Fi Mandalas, which, in my opinion, is great. Science fiction and Mandalas both give structure to worlds in the imagination and I like all of those things.
SCOUT: Yeah, I can see that. So, how did you get into painting in the first place?
GEOFFREY: I was a quiet kid and I grew up drawing, so I've always enjoyed looking [at the world around me]. You learn more by doing, though, so painting is a sort of exploration in understanding perception. Of course, the older I get, the crazier the world seems, so I always have more questions about the world and the meanings we attribute to it.
SCOUT: Is that what inspires your work? The world around you?
GEOFFREY: Nature inspires me. There's nothing more amazing than interacting with an animal in it's own world. They are beautifully alien and exquisitely similar to us at the same time. That dichotomy is wonderful.
SCOUT: What’s a day in the life of Geoffrey Owen Miller like?
GEOFFREY: Living in New York (the privilege of renting a closet to sleep in and a basement to paint in), means I work almost constantly. When I'm not working for other people, I am fitting my own work into every last available nook and cranny of free time. Though one of the benefits of living in New York is being hired to build life-sized animals out of Lego bricks [and] sculpt floating, upside-down mountains, as well as work for the very artists I idealized in school.
SCOUT: It is one helluva life, isn't it? When you do manage to escape from work, where do you go to unwind?
GEOFFREY: My favorite place to unwind when I get the chance is a little social club on Kent Ave. in Brooklyn, [called Bklyn Rod & Gun], that has an Americana hootenanny every Sunday night. Sometimes I play music and sometimes I just listen. It's one of those magic places that you can only find by stumbling upon [it].
SCOUT: Well, that's awfully curious, if you ask me, but do you have another find that you find "curious" in New York?
GEOFFREY: The Rubin Museum of Art is a gem and it is one of the few places [where] I would suggest getting the guided tour. The history, culture and ideas behind their Tibetan art collection is really inspiring.
SCOUT: Finally, a shameless plug about your own inspiring art:
GEOFFREY: I have some little paintings, as well as some big paintings, up at Exit Art in Manhattan until April 30th. It's a really good group show about Geometric Abstractions and I'm proud to be showing with such a great group of people.