Interview by Kim Nagorski
Cody F. Miller is one of 18 central Ohio artists whose work is featured in the Best of 2019, Ohio Designer Craftsmen’s 36th annual juried members’ exhibition, presented at the Ohio Craft Museum in the spring/summer of 2019.
K:When did you start painting, and when did you add collage to your technique?
Cody: I majored in illustration at CCAD, and I had to take painting classes. I picked up collage during my senior year—1995. I was just really taken with the combination of cut paper and paint.
K: Describe your technique.
Cody: I start with a sketch, then transfer the image and begin to layer colors. I always have a general idea in mind about how I’m going to lay down color and what the final product will look like, but there’s also an element of chance involved when I start adding textures and patterns. I love that chain reaction between laying an image down and rethinking that image. I’m somewhat in control, but there’s a kind of back-and-forth dance.
K: Where do you find your patterns and images?
Cody: It’s a constant hunt wherever I go for anything that will strike me. I’ve collected so many items over the years that are just waiting to find a new home. I like the serendipity of the fact that wherever I go, something always stands out to me. I’ve found books about buttons, an old poster from a circus that came to Dayton, second-grade readers from 1988.
K: How does your faith inspire your work?
Cody: It’s like the glasses I see everything through. A common theme runs through a lot of my images, based on how I understand and see things, and how other people deal with events in their lives. There are themes in the Scripture about the beautiful, amazing and profound that can happen to us in the darkness. My work looks at that contrast of emotions—the contrast between mourning and celebrating—and what we do with that. How do we not let the darkness take over the light? I use metaphors and symbols to show a quiet kind of hope; sometimes it’s funny, other times, sad.
K: Where do you sell your work?
Cody: Hayley Gallery in New Albany represents me, and I sell work through my own website. I participate in regional art festivals. I also do illustration work for different companies, including a company out of Chicago that I’ve worked with for four years.
K: What’s your favorite thing about the Columbus arts scene right now?
Cody: There are a lot of opportunities for artists in Columbus to promote their work in terms of all the amazing grants through OAC and GCAC. My work has been displayed on a billboard, as well as a mural outside of the A&R Bar in the Arena District. I’ve been able to go to Cuba twice thanks to a grant from GCAC, and I continue to work with different people at different organizations across the city, including Ohio Designer Craftsmen.