Al Miller

Arts & Crafts

Intellectual labor tears a man out of human society.
A craft, on the other hand, leads him towards men.

-Franz Kafka

Here is a collection of the physical, tangible works which I have poured either a small or large portion of myself into. I compile these here from a compulsion to organize, but also to ensure that when these are lost from my own memory, I can turn somewhere to reignite the joy that creating them afforded me.

Piano

I was fortunate to study piano through childhood, and after a hiatus in high school, later through university on a monthly basis with my unique and gracious mentor, Royden. I continue to play frequently, and find it to be a welcome medium for reflection and expression.

The below recordings are sampled from a solo recital I gave in 2018 in Preston, Connecticut. Since then my playing has waned in quality and discipline, but certainly not in personal enjoyment.

Jeux d'eau

Maurice Ravel (1901)

Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23

Frédéric Chopin (1835)

Rondo Capriccioso in E Major, Op. 14

Felix Mendelssohn (1830)

Prelude in C Minor, Op. 3, No. 2

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1892)

Drawings

The use of color, in both photography and painting, is intimidating to me. I have enough to concern myself with composition, value, etc. in grayscale, and introducing an additional dimension feels premature, given I am not likely to ever master the preceding skills.

But life is short, and I don't want to hinder art because I don't necessarily understand everything that results. In programming, suprises are never desired. Mastery is demonstrated by the ability to predict and understand what decisions will result in. But in visual arts, I think there is a certain beauty that comes from the in-between space of understanding and serendipity. While high proficiency is essential for creating worthwhile art, the best works include a few serendipidous suprises to the artist as well.

For now however, I am just sketching. So far I have taken an anatomy drawing course and though I am very early in it, I have learned a great deal regarding how to approach any sketch from life. Sighting, value, gesture drawings, etc., all great tools that I will continue to develop and refine to improve the quality of my work.

Banana leaf

Banana leaf

New York City

New York City

Portrait of a real estate agent

Portrait of a real estate agent

Banana

Banana

Box

Box

Monsterra

Monsterra

Facial features

Facial features

Smooth car

Smooth car

One point perspective

One point perspective

Two point perspective

Two point perspective

Ceramics

Through high school, my homeroom (last name ending in "M") was the ceramics studio. In spite of spending 10 minutes each day for four years in the vicinity of a kiln and throwing wheels, I never developed an interest in clay until well after high school.

But now I have begun to enjoy learning something entirely new, using my hands. I am still a complete novice at ceramics. I struggle to center the clay sometimes, and still have not developed consistency in understanding the preferred moisture content of the clay prior to throwing. I don't really know how to glaze properly (as shown below with the drips of excess glaze in some of the pieces). But I enjoy it, and I am learning bit by bit!

Iron Vase

An iron vase. Painted glaze. Cone 6 May 2024
Iron Vase

Blue Mug

Dipped glaze, two layers (brown, waterfall). Way too much glaze. April 2024
Blue Mug

Brown Mug

Painted glaze. Did not apply enough layers so it appears too thin. April 2024
Brown Mug