Patrick Miller ’02
What's the future of printmaking, or graphic design, or painting, or non-gallery exhibition, or public art? Look no further than the work of Patrick Miller, who with his two-man collective called Faile embodies many possible answers to all of those questions.
If you've heard of Bansky, the elusive English street artist, or seen the renegade posters of Shepard Fairey, creator of the Barack Obama "Hope" poster, you're more than halfway toward understanding what Patrick Miller is doing with Faile. Together with Patrick McNeil, a childhood friend, Faile draws upon both the imagery and experience of an urban, pasted-over streetscape and creates "paste-ups" that are less intrusive than graffiti and more broadly emotional than angry political gripes.
Working from a studio in Brooklyn, the two men toss memories of wrestling posters, pinups, antique advertising, or children's book illustrations into bold compositions that look half planned, half accidental. Often they try to incorporate the sense of a "rip," as if part of the poster were torn away and an older one shows through behind it. These posters were originally slapped up in many city settings, and now they're sold as gallery works.
The name "Faile" is both a scrambling of a previous collective name, and a nudging reminder to Miller and McNeil of the vulnerability of art. Yet so far, the idea of failing seems implausible - with global exhibitions and impressive gallery sales, adoring critical attention, and clear heads about what they're re-inventing about art and design, the project can only be called a success.