A Man With His Own Style Takes Over The Moto Art Scene
Article By: Amelia Rose
Originally Published In The December 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Not many people see drawing odds and ends at the 17th St Surf Shop in Virginia Beach as a gateway to becoming a full time artist. Then again, no one sees bicycles as a gateway to motorcycles, but pedaling can only get you so far… This is exactly how Derick Miller spent his early years, his first job drawing on T-shirts, signs, or pretty much anything he could get his hands on in the late 80’s/ early 90’s. Being only 19 with nothing to hold him back, he headed out west to SoCal, where he stayed for almost 17 years, painting signs for Home Depot and soaking up as much knowledge from local autopainters and airbrush artists as he could. For him, the SoCal Hot Rod scene was incredibly influential on his artwork, learning to focus on the details of the engine, the body lines and stance. Along those same lines, Bob Haro and Andy Jenkins inspired him during his BMX days N to find and create his own style, something he is incredibly proud of. Despite the cartoon-like style of his drawings, Derick researches his subjects painstakingly to make sure that every detail is addressed. Though they are never meant to be photorealistic or technical drawings, for him, the details mean everything and can make or break a piece, especially if it’s a commission of a personal subject.
While working in the mid-80’s, he raced BMX bikes which slowly transitioned into dirt bikes, so the love of two wheels was always there. Taking the next step into the world of motorized madness, after moving from SoCal to Motor City back in the mid-2000’s, Derick started hanging out with various motorcycle builders, watching them in their craft and falling in love with the art they created. In trade for designing flyers, T-shirts, and lettering tanks for them, they would teach him various skills related to bike building, such as how to weld, shape metal, and most importantly, how the bike comes together from the ground up. Being given the chance to work with so many different styles of art, it’s bound to happen that the artist has a specific medium they enjoy more than others. From PrismaColor and airbrush to acrylic and one-shot, Derick loves the ability to choose the right tool for the job. Currently working on a Builder Legends 36×48 canvas series (Part 1: Bill Hines), he’s taken to the acrylics like a bird on the wind. For him, the topic of the art is just as, if not more important than the medium. Things that relate to his life, bikes, simple living, a sweet scene, and anything that can make someone smile. For him, that’s what it’s all about, living his creative dream and bringing joy to others lives through the arts.
Residing in The Big Apple after moving there last year, Derick has big dreams for his little studio by the Watkins Glen International Speedway. Aside from providing his customers with quality work while making a decent living, he’d like to one day split the studio up. Turn it into a small silk screen shop, artist studio, and garage space for fabrication and painting, while of course getting as much riding in as he can between projects, without getting a ticket. His dreams aren’t that far away either, with commissions coming in from places like Australia and other countries around the world, the only direction for him to go is up! For more information, more pictures, or to contact him about a commission, head on over to www.derickmillerart.com or search derickmillerart on Instagram.