Mike Miller

Michael MillerAnchor link to John Martin videoProfessor Miller on his passion for art

Meet Mike Miller
Associate Professor and Chair,
Visual Arts and Director, UIS Visual Arts Gallery



  • B.F.A. Texas Christian University in Painting
  • M.F.A. University of Michigan in Painting


  • I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. Fort Worth is a place that has earned its name as “cowtown” with plenty of great barbecue, cowboys, and As an artist, I am interested in what people want from new technologies. Why is the iPhone so desirable?larger than life characters like Amon Carter. But it is also an amazing cultural arts center. It is home to the Kimball Museum, The Modern Art Museum, and has a great tradition of producing innovative artists. This environment had a tremendous impact on me as a young man. I was able to see world-class works of art first hand, but I also learned a special kind of individualism and self-sufficiency from my fellow Texans.

Interesting Facts:

  • I like to view nature from unusual vantage points. When I was younger, I was an avid rock climber. There is nothing quite like the view of the Eldorado Canyon in Colorado from 1000 feet. More recently, I have been scuba diving in Mexico, Belize, and Hawaii. These experiences have given me appreciation for the beauty of remote places and the need for human beings to respect an environment that we do not yet fully understand.

Learning philosophy:

  • I treat my studio classroom like a laboratory. Students come up with a concept for new work, and then we brainstorm, conduct material tests, build prototypes, and assess failures and successes. Then we go back to the drawing board and start again. Working in my classroom is a collaborative, demanding, and hopefully rewarding experience of self-discovery.

Research interests:

  • I am fascinated with the relationship between art and technology. As an artist, I am interested in what people want from new technologies. Why is the iPhone so desirable? Why is Facebook the winning social media site? These products are useful, but they are also visually and psychologically appealing. My work is an attempt to understand and critique this phenomenon.

Major project underway:

  • I am currently collaborating with a colleague from The University of Oregon on a digitally modeled public sculpture project. We are using rapid-prototyping machines to produce a three-dimensional digital vine that can be “grown” to fit any public sculpture site.

Listen to Professor Miller talk about his passion for art:

Advice to prospective students:

  • I would ask students to take a step back and realize the tremendous opportunity and privilege they are experiencing as they attend the university. Make it count! Seek out those individuals that are doing work that you admire, whether they are faculty, graduate students, peers, or professionals. This is the time to define yourself, take this task seriously!

Best thing about UIS:

  • I will echo what others have said; we have a small student to faculty ratio. While this is very important, equally important is the fact that the faculty at UIS are engaged in truly amazing research. Our students have the rare opportunity in higher education of working closely with first-rate scholars.