Miller was born in California’s Castro Valley in 1961 and joinedCreative Growth, the same art studio where Judith Scott worked, in 1992. Therehe began making large, abstracted graphic works that function as communiqués ina self-shaped language. Miller is onthe autism spectrum, significantly impacted by a syndrome in whichcommunication challenges are central. His art draws on deeply embeddedmemories — linguistic and physical — and provides a means of conveying what he isunable to express verbally. Miller, like Scott before him, has become an iconicartist in the increasingly recognized sector of neurodivergent creativity.
When Miller was born, the autism spectrumwas ill-understood and effective childhood interventions had yet to exist. Hisgrandmother, a schoolteacher, was nevertheless determined to help Dan developlanguage, repeating to him the sounds and forms of words, time and again. Her efforts revealedtheir impact much later, when he began making artworks that overlay andrepeat words, letters, names, and numbers, conveying, uniquely but effectively,his ideas and memories. Miller’s complex experience is mirrored in theemotionally enveloping drawings and sculptures he makes. His artworks stand ontheir own, but his extraordinary story offers a critically enriching context. Millersolidifies the idea that art is as unique as the maker, that labels for peoplecan’t meaningfully describe art, and that creative practice is a vehicle forconnecting with family and the world.
(We Are Made of Stories: Self-Taught Artists in theRobson Family Collection, 2022)