Remembering Tom Miller - BmoreArt

Miller’s legacy continues, thanks in large part to Deyane Moses of Blackives. Moses was the driving force behind reviving Tom Miller Day, which takes place on February 18th. This year, Blackives extended this commemorative day into a series of events for Tom Miller Week. Students from Miller’s alma mater got involved in the festivities. Carver’s Art Club, known as Cre8tive Xpression, paid tribute to Miller by painting furniture in his Afro Deco style. Like Miller’s Harford Road mural, each student used a proverb to guide their artistic choices. For some of the students, it was their first time working on a painting project.

Local artist Gary Mullen worked with the students on preparing and painting the furniture. A few students expressed how painting furniture was an exciting creative challenge. While talking about the process with Zariah Stringfield, she mentioned how she had to sand the furniture and apply a primer for the base layer.

“Sketching was weird,” Stringfield shared. She had to crouch to access all of the nooks, crannies, and underpieces of the furniture’s surface. “I had to have more control, to be precise without dripping,” Stringfield explained. “It was tedious work, but I kept going.” 

Cre8tive Xpression received salvaged furniture from Second Chance for this project. When the students had to pick which piece to work with, Stringfield gravitated towards the piano. Although it was a daunting, three dimensional canvas to work with, it made sense, since Stringfield has a passion for music and art. Just as Miller was influenced by his creative parents, Stringfield takes inspiration from her father. Not only is he a tattoo artist, but he also produces music in a studio. Her piece is titled “Showtime” and she was inspired by the proverb “Where words fail, music speaks.”

Zariah’s work is one of the many pieces on display at the University of Baltimore Robert L. Bogomolny Library. A few plates are laid out on a painted table and an incense holder rests on a painted coffee table. These little hints of domestic activity create a sense of a thriving home. Although you can’t play Stringfield’s piano, other pieces are interactive. Deon Newkirk’s “Up in the Clouds” is a desk and viewers are invited to open up the various drawers to see more painted details. The show runs until February 25th. Each piece is also available for sale through a Live Silent Auction. Proceeds will go towards funding a scholarship for young artists.