Jamie Miller. Full stop. It’s difficult for me to pin down the evolution of my admiration for her. My first awareness of her was hearing buzz around her creative clothing store, Collage, in Charleston, WV (my home town). Outside looking in, I could see this was a woman not to be trifled with. She has a real edge, an energy that says not to wander into her world without care; I admired that, I still do. Then came her work as an advocate. Reproductive rights and the opioid crisis for starters, but so much more is in her mind, heart, and soul. Like most truly real, committed artists, she feels the pain around her on a cellular level. That’s a hard life no matter what, but it’s the expression of that empathy and pain through art that changes lives. Her alliance with the underdog is unflinching.
I always love the underdog, the person who lives in that dirty coal trailer, but knows that they don’t have to accept that as the future. I love the storytellers who surprise you with their stories of resilience and take what you think you know about us and turn it upside down. I love old things that hold memories–cast off items, misfit broken dolls and toys. I love ghosts and daydreams. I love little towns and hollers in the country, porch stories, and kids who love punk rock because they believe it will save them.Jamie Miller
You can find Jamie on Twitter here: @dew_mouth; also anywhere garbage politicians are spewing B.S. — you’ll find her sitting outside their offices and in the streets with their names on signs they don’t want to be on, too. As of this issue, you’ll find her on Longridge Review. I consider it a sacred trust to be allowed to share her work and her voice with you. Her full bio is on the blog. Read it.
“In my recent work, I incorporate layers of paint, symbolism, and folklore to portray the destruction of my mountain home. I invite the viewer in by using a bright color palette and childlike critters to create what seems like a beautiful safe space only upon further examination noticing the darkness. The mountains are bandaged; big coal owns this state. Big Pharma wants those who don’t leave to die by introducing millions of opioids into already fragile communities. Our waters are full of poison. It is a battle of good versus evil, the spirit of the Appalachian that refuses to succumb without a fight. It is the story of our people and the state I love in so much pain.”
— Jamie Miller
All images ©Jamie Miller