Q & A with Amada Miller
Founder of Hello Studio, gallery and artist residency at Blue Star Arts Complex, Amada Miller is a woman of many talents. Driven, hard working and creative, her work is sought after and her imprint on the art community past, present and future is vast. We took a moment to quiz her on her work as an artist and to dig into her goals and future plans, get ready to be inspired!
“My work focuses on revisiting and rewriting art history to better incorporate the wide spectrum of underrepresented women who were the frontiers of contemporary art as we know it.”
Give us the scoop, who is Amada Miller?
I’m an artist and designer currently residing in San Antonio. My work focuses on revisiting and rewriting art history to better incorporate the wide spectrum of underrepresented women who were the frontiers of contemporary art as we know it. I founded Hello Studio, an artist residency and gallery in the Blue Star Arts Complex, in 2011. We’ve hosted over 65 Texas artists since opening the doors. And when I’m not doing that, I work at Artpace as the Design and Communications Coordinator.
Tell us, what are some outstanding moments that have built your career as an artist into what it is today?
Renting my own studio and gallery space was a major turning point in my practice. Before that, I was working from home with very limited resources and not much space. I felt very constricted, especially because I think my work translates more fully as a large scale object. It’s hard to wrap your mind around a massive piece of cloth when you can’t lay the whole thing out to see where it’s going. Another moment that built my career was my first solo exhibition at FL!GHT Gallery. I honestly don’t think I would be where I am now without the support and encouragement that show brought. I learned so much from that experience, that’s what I hope Hello Studio does for other emerging artists in Texas.
“I love when people ask me questions about my work, and I feel like this work is really approachable.”
What’s a short & long term goal you’re working on?
Short term: I’m focusing on getting in the studio every day, making work I enjoy, breathing, relaxing, reading and researching.
Long term: That a hard one, I don’t know where I’ll be in a year but I just hope I’m still making work and exhibiting. Maybe expand outside of Texas. I’ve never shown outside of my home state.
How did you get into quilting & textiles?
I was completely impressed and taken aback when I found out my mother had made all of her own clothes in her early 20s and 30s, she bought me a sewing machine and I tried it a few times but couldn’t keep the bobbin from exploding with thread and became frustrated pretty quickly. When I took my first painting class, I realized I want to make abstraction and turned to something I knew quite well, which were piles of clothes on the floor. I remember my mom’s sewing room from when I was a kid, there were always scraps of old clothes lying around that she would reuse, she made a denim purse out of some old jeans of mine. I used those memories to create twisted forms of color and painted that onto raw canvas, but painting always felt like painting to me, if you know what I mean, so I tried other mediums like printmaking and sculpture but really fell in love with textiles. I’ve always been interested in ways to make your own color–I’m the most DYI person I know, to a detriment–hand-dyeing and quilting is so process oriented that I think it really calls to my natural senses of being totally self-reliant. I can walk out in the middle of the woods and find things to make reds, blues, purples.
Describe a real life experience that’s inspired you.
Every experience is an experience that should be thought about and contemplated and made into something. Last Saturday my car was stolen, that’s inspired me to appreciate things more fully. I should’ve put so more art in that car because it was an art car.
Do you have any upcoming events or exhibitions?
At Hello Studio, we’re exhibiting Anthony Rundblades work. It’s a really fantastic show, you should definitely see it! August 3rd & 4th are the next public opening but we’re also open by appointment. As far as my work goes, I just had a show at FLAX Studio run by Katy Silva in the 1906 complex, and I’m scheming to do more natural dye workshops at Sala Diaz, more soon.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Walking into my last show (Motherlode) at FL!GHT was a treat. I posted a lot of process shots on social media, but I don’t think the size of the pieces translated via a tiny phone screen, so most people seemed shocked at how large the work was. I also love watching people realize the work is all sewn together. It’s hard to tell how the lines are created in this work from a few feet back, but when you get up close you can see the detailed stitching, which makes people scratch their heads and then ask a lot of questions. I love when people ask me questions about my work, and I feel like this work is really approachable. I’m using notoriously crafty and feminine processes, I think that makes people feel comfortable and chatty.
What do you love about working out of Blue Star Arts Complex?
I love the sense of community, the atmosphere, bouncing ideas off your neighbor and having access to the extraordinary reach of people that First Thursday and Friday brings.
Find out more about Hello Studio here.
Keep up to date on Blue Star Arts Complex exhibitions and events here.
All photos courtesy of Amada Miller
The Social Agency for Blue Star Arts Complex