I recently reacquainted myself with an old friend, one Darryl Miller. A simple living man, common if you will. A painter and sculptor; an artist. A gentle man who followed his given talent, his passion, possibly to ends others, with weaker substance, would have shunned. A resounding affirmation of loyalty to an aptitude. There are awards, accolades, and acknowledgments which he does not promote but rather, unpretentiously cherishes.
Darryl Miller is an artist. Limitless passion. A sculptor whose works can be observed and appreciated in various locations throughout the state and country. Charlotte is his home town. You can find an example of his most personal statues in the courthouse museum. He truly never sought notoriety or grand prosperity. Not his way. This would not be true to his passion for art, for art’s sake.
A quiet unassuming man, his exceptional talents have taken him to storybook locations in other countries. Darryl is a devotee of the mentoring/encouraging system. From the early years of structured schooling and beyond Darryl has absorbed, passed onto others, his insight and knowledge sought by wanting creative apprentices.
After studying with Steve Davis at LCC Darryl was off to Salt Lake City to pursue stone cutting with Andrew Fairbanks, a renowned U.S. sculptor. Darryl quickly understood; to know good sculpting, one had to know what was underneath the skin, i.e., muscles and tendons. This most intensive, and imperative, instruction is the basis for all else to come. Soon, Darryl obtained a Master of Fine Arts Degree at Eastern University under the direct tutelage of sculptor John Nick Pappas EMU. As quoted by Mr. Pappas, “In his 25 years of instruction Darryl was one of the best, ever.” Yet, his true education in sculpting lay ahead. Darryl was off to Italy to study with Jacques Lipchitz in the art of marble sculpting. Then back to Detroit to the College of Creative Studies where, after five years of intense study, Darryl graduated in 1980. A very long journey to be an overnight, widely known, successful sculptor.
Sculpting is a multi-level, multi-step process. It is not a simple matter of carving figures out of clay. It includes a framed structure, layers upon layers of clay process, forming muscle configurations. If the process is to go to bronze, then Darryl uses the Loss Wax Process. A laborious process using wax coating to form a mold. Later, when cooled, the mold will be removed, filled with molten bronze at approximately 2000 degrees, cooled, cleaned and finished. I tried to make the entire process sound simple, it is not! Nor is it a quick process. Darryl showed me two of his honored and prized figures both taking over 6 to 10 weeks.
Currently, some of Darryl’s work are on display in various museums. Other works have become part of private collections of prominent families. Darryl is most proud of being judged 1st in Excellence by the eminent realist painter Phillip Pearlstein at Birmingham’s Bloomfield Art Association Exhibition. Lofty landings for a shy young man from the 70s who admired, held in reverence, icons such as Michelangelo, Rodin, and the world acclaimed contemporary sculptor Marcello Tommasi whom Darryl met in 1970. It’s been a long way from early days of encouragement from his 6th grade teacher to recreating the Sistine Chapel on the ceiling of the art room in his senior year of high school. Yes, a long way indeed.
After 30 years, walking the same halls of the giants of sculpting, honing his talents in the shadows of the great masters with passion and undeniable skills, Darryl is not finished, but a bit weary. As with most of us, time and age begin to take its toll. Darryl, for all of his skill, is not immune to mother nature. He has slowed down his work, but not his desire. Will we see some new work from him soon, only Darryl knows. Until then feel fortunate we can see samples of his work locally or in his encompassing book highlighting much of his work. A Renaissance man, maybe. A man who followed his true love and talents with passion, appreciation, and reverence; definitely. We can only marvel at his talent and say, Thank You Darryl.