- Also known as
- Daniel Miller
- Castro Valley, California, United States
- Active in
- Oakland, California, United States
Miller was born in California’s Castro Valley in 1961 and joined Creative Growth, the same art studio where Judith Scott worked, in 1992. There he began making large, abstracted graphic works that function as communiqués in a self-shaped language. Miller is on the autism spectrum, significantly impacted by a syndrome in which communication challenges are central. His art draws on deeply embedded memories—linguistic and physical—and provides a means of conveying what he is unable to express verbally. Miller, like Scott before him, has become an iconic artist in the increasingly recognized sector of neurodivergent creativity.
When Miller was born, the autism spectrum was ill-understood and effective childhood interventions had yet to exist. His grandmother, a schoolteacher, was nevertheless determined to help Dan develop language, repeating to him the sounds and forms of words, time and again. Her efforts revealed their impact much later, when he began making artworks that overlay and repeat words, letters, names, and numbers, conveying, uniquely but effectively, his ideas and memories. Miller’s complex experience is mirrored in the emotionally enveloping drawings and sculptures he makes. His artworks stand on their own, but his extraordinary story offers a critically enriching context. Miller solidifies the idea that art is as unique as the maker, that labels for people can’t meaningfully describe art, and that creative practice is a vehicle for connecting with family and the world.
(We Are Made of Stories: Self-Taught Artists in the Robson Family Collection, 2022)