Student Spotlight: Katie Miller '20

April 8, 2019

Art by Katie Miller

Litterbox by Katie Miller '20


The Student Spotlight series aims to highlight the work of current MFA students, asking them to share thoughts on their practice by answering curated and peer-submitted questions. 


Katie Miller '20 is a first-year student in the Visual Arts Program



What themes or subjects are you currently addressing in your work?


I am interested in found objects, disposable packaging, identity-building via consumption and accumulation of products. Thinking also about the psychology behind our choices of aesthetic, why we are drawn to certain colors and textures, and the comfort of the simple functions of toothpaste tubes and lotion pumps. Objects as votives. Animism. Objects of comfort such as blankets, "night lights", and trinkets. Is the "Psychedelic South" a real thing? Also, tiled floors. Maximalism. Bedazzleism. Every piece is a part of a whole. Thinking about manmade interior spaces.



Are there any themes or materials you’re interested in exploring in the future?


I'm excited to continue to create sculptures based on these interests that will eventually accumulate into an environment. Large-scale interactive installations are something I have constructed in the past and I am excited to continue to bring the wacky world inside my head into “real life”. Also, cinematography and video art are interests of mine yet to be explored here in the program. I'm very excited to get ahold of a camera again.



What challenges do you face in your practice?


Because of my straight-forward references to pop culture and choices of material, being read as Kitsch is definitely a challenge especially within the academic arena.



What artists or works inspire you? 


 Aubrey Beardsley, Chris Ware, Red Grooms, Ken Price, Wayne White, Wayne Coyne, Allison Schulnik, Antony Gormley…



What has been your favorite class at Columbia so far?


I am currently taking a graduate seminar course in Anthropology called The Art of Magic, the Art of Possession. I am particularly fascinated by the role objects play in magic, the energy they hold, and how that translates to everyday life. Also, how often does one reach a level of trance or possession in other circumstances outside of religious and magical rites. I am thinking a lot about spirituality within Western Logic or the lack thereof.