ADAM MILLER is a photographer, writer, and multimedia artist from Boston. He is co-creator of the ZombieBomb! comic anthology series for Terminal Press, and has done covers for a variety of books and comics. His work has shown at national galleries and received recognition from G4TV, The New York Times, Fangoria, and MSNBC. Adam is currently the gallery director for Visionspace Gallery in Lynn, Massachusetts, and acts as a guest lecturer at many New England campuses including his alma mater, the Montserrat College of Art. He posts about new work and upcoming projects @millerstrations, and on Instagram and Facebook.
ON LISTS AND RESOLUTIONS
I’m always introspective in December. It’s my birthday, I see people, and the calendar changes. So every year I set an unbelievably daunting New Year’s resolution.
I don’t think a resolution should be going to the gym, watching Netflix, punching the clock. This year my goal is to be proactive. I gave myself 52 items — not one a week, just 52 things. It turns out 52 is a fucking lot. it took me three days to make the list. I want a new tattoo, and to take my mom to Niagara Falls. But the majority are bigger: experiment, do a large form painting, get a new publisher — real things.
Literally January 1st I started my list. It’s printed out and tacked on the wall next to my calendar, and every time I knock one off I write it up in this ridiculous pink marker. I try to do it in the spirit I meant it — I did a large mural in a gallery and it was an experiment, but that’s not what I meant. All of it’s designed to make me a better artist and a better person. I still don’t know what I’m fucking doing, but I’m going to do this list in order to be a project junkie.
My biggest problem is I end up doing more than making. I like making, but making doesn’t pay the bills. Doing pays the bills. And that’s tricky for me. I get radio shows and gallery curations and speaking gigs, and obviously I’m wired that way and I enjoy it. But I like making, so I want to do more making. I did a painting for a show called BOSS KRANG in Florida, and another for the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland in Oakland with guys who are way ahead of me — that’s a win.
Around here, if I want to do something, I make a phone call. So I want to do new things. I want to finish off my list.
ON HEAD, HEART, HANDS
I have a degree in illustration, and I have yet to actively pursue a career in it. When I got out of school I dove on the gallery scene and pursued fine art, and then pursued comic books, and then pursued photography. I just had a bunch of stuff I needed to make — I was just head-heart- hands. All these characters and ideas are in my head, one click left of center, and they live there. I’d be in the middle of a painting and three ideas would come. I’d wake up and write my dreams down. Luckily it caught a little bit, and I could put shows together and move work. Artists are supposed to be introverted weirdos and that wasn’t me — I could always pack the house. That went well enough, but then the economy crashed. Right about then I started to do comic conventions.
My local comic shop guy really pushed me to do my first con. I did that first con and got on the front page of the paper — I used scissors and glue sticks to make my work and people didn’t know what to do with me. I went to a million cons. MoCCA was magic to me, I went to Wizard, to NYCC, anything I could drive to. I pitched ZombieBomb! from the convention floor, and the publisher told me later the only reason he said yes was because he didn’t think I could do it.
ON LOVE AND COMICS
I’ve always used photos in my artwork. I’m really a collage artist, but I bury it so much. I say it’s interdisciplinary. Photo lets me film and tell stories.
I did a yearlong group project that required contributing photos to a theme every week. The group also wanted me to write about the photographs, and I hadn’t done creative writing before but I really liked it. I was building these really ambitious photos and then writing about them, and it led to this promise I made to myself to make high quality work every week. I photographed and wrote for 104 consecutive weeks and never missed a deadline, but at the end I had gotten everything I wanted out of it. When I was done I said, “The gallery calls, comics call, everything calls, and I gotta go. Let’s be in touch.”
I’m only a comic guy through will. My skill set is not comics. The guys I know who do comics are animals. I don’t do one thing, I do 15 things. Why I’m still around comics, why I know comic guys, is because I love fucking comics.
I grew up in super lean times when I was kid. We bopped around from cars to couches to campgrounds. That shit informs you, it makes you into something. One of the only fucking treats we had when we were kids was comics. My dad would put together a couple bucks and get me an issue of Fantastic Four. We couldn’t handle it. He would tell me about Ben Grimm and the Hulk and Thor, and draw an alien and a spaceship and blow my mind.
I shouldn’t be doing comics. If I were, I would be a creative director, and that’s a hard sell. I think I could be a small publisher. I could build a creative team. I’ve been asked many times, but I don’t know that I want that. I want to be the guy making the comics.
I shouldn’t be doing comics, but I have always loved them. And I probably always will.
Want to be considered for future installments of The New Comics? Send your work to Comics Curator Keith McCleary via the Entropy submissions page.