Inspiring Humanity By Dwayne K. Parsons
I write, perhaps, from a lofty idealism in bringing two quite diverse examples of internationally recognized artists to my writer’s desk. Both of these artists live in the Coeur d’Alene/Spokane Valley corridor, but their mediums, though seemingly opposite by intent and method, have achieved notoriety for both on an international scale. For this reason, they’ve both gained my attention.
Hayden resident Alan Golub is a digital artist, using a collection of apps on his Android phones (yes he has more than one) to manipulate sometimes extraordinary concepts into pictorial storytelling.
Spokane resident Stan Miller, on the other hand, is a master watercolorist whose plein air scenes and character portraits exceed the rendition capacities of most artists. Stan lives on the eastern edge of the South Hill. Both men are known internationally, and both have traveled with their art as the premise of the trip.
Very unalike in technique and artistic portrayal, their common ground is the creative verve and accuracy in reporting what they see and bring out in their works.
Miller has been an artist and arts instructor throughout the entirety of his career. Golub, however, did not realize the reality of his enormous gift until a little more than six years ago following a massive stroke. By some divine hand, perhaps, he experienced the sudden near-death episode just down the hallway of one of Washington state’s only full-time EMT offices, meaning help was there within moments of his collapse. Recognizing his symptoms, the EMT on duty immediately gave him the proper injection to stabilize his blood pressure. Had it taken longer to get help, he would likely have died or been severely debilitated from the stroke.
Stan Miller made his life-long career out of his insights and passion gained as a child. Alan Golub, on the other hand, found his surprising career from the dregs of physical attack that could have ended his life. Both artists have amplified and now enjoy the elevated audiences of international attention.
As for Golub, he could do little with his left hand but cradle his Android cell phone, while discovering and plying the abundant offerings of apps on his phone. This was a man who, until that curiously blessed but unfortunate day, had been a performing mandolin player, and well known for it through the greater Coeur d’Alene/Spokane area. With his crippled left arm and hand, playing with the apps and photographs available to him on his phone, this exercise at least took his mind off the circumstance, then soon turned to an ambition, thanks to social media, that replaced his love of musical performance. He became a digital story teller. Couple that with a genuine heart of appreciation for the truth and for the successes of less fortunate people, even those who challenged corruption and crime, he quickly gained a place in the world of commentary.
Stan Miller found his passion as a child, and once a certain teacher in grade school taught him how to create a realistic curve in a road (perspective), he was off and running enthusiastically into learning art. That love followed him like a faithful pet all the way through high school, into college and then beyond. He became a teacher and tutor for his own classes and took that enterprise out into the greater realm of the world at large. Today, Miller is one of the finest living watercolorists on the planet. He is certainly recognized and very complete in his service of approach in that he willingly and patiently teaches others the secrets of some of his best techniques.
Here’s my point in comparing these two excellent artists: The urge to manifest creativity is a sometimes hidden imprint found in the very soul of humanity. The true manifestation of any artist, which requires both discipline and perseverance, is proof of this assumption. Those who do not choose, for one reason or another, to brave the early stages become appreciators and collectors. They are the people who admire the finer expressions of imagination and enjoy the studies of experiential knowledge in those that manifest it. The medium is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter. It’s the result of expression that counts in all realms of human understanding of creative expression.
In the digital medium, the secret of Golub’s creations and consequent, driving mastery are the outcropping of his love for people, especially those bound to truth and those who have suffered in one way or another. He is a compassionate reporter of soldiers, police officers and firemen who have given their lives for the call of duty. He has an uncommon appreciation for those who are little or seldom recognized, but he also knows instinctively how to portray great achievements in the fortunate. These two primary characteristics of Golub have placed him in a realm of recognition all his own. He’s not a self-promoter. His artwork speaks for itself. His subjects are the best advertisers he could possibly find.
Miller doesn’t need to promote either. His classic attention to detail and the subtleties of expression in human character, blended with his incredibly learned and applied understandings of the color spectrum and how to apply it, has placed him strongly into a category of master. His work speaks for itself as well, on all counts.
In both cases, the internet of today is partly responsible for the spread of awareness both have enjoyed. Because their works are carried from one person to another through the eyes and minds of fondness and appreciation of their talents. This is so because great works of art, in any medium, surpass the human tendency to brag about it. The bragging takes place in the hearts and minds of others who love what they are giving.
Golub's talent for composition, reinforced by his innate compassion for truth, have given him a keen sense of observation. He is now recognized throughout the North American continent, as in the more populated areas of South America, Japan and Europe, where famous personalities in the news caught his attention only to manifest into poster-like representations that quickly gained a place for Golub in the demanding world of news commentary. It’s been said by some, “A Golub poster is worth 10,000 words.”
For Miller, the story of global recognition is another book, a different story. His rise into fame and credibility stems from his learned studies and devoted application to the task over time. Endowed as well with a natural urge to teach, he has gained considerable recognition. He never lost his childhood enthusiasm for painting, which he applies productively through the mediums of watercolor and tempera. His scenic paintings are nothing less than true masterpieces, there can be no doubt about that. But his character studies are empathic interpretations that go way beyond what you normally see. He nails character by bringing out the inner thoughts and emotions hidden in the subtleties of human expression. In my opinion, I think he is much better than the at-large world has yet discovered. Miller is a true master.
But then, there is an old adage in the literature of art: The teacher grows beyond their students. I think this truth is because the teacher develops a keen appetite for analyzing what actually makes an exceptional end result. Think about that: A great teacher has to excel in knowledge and understanding in order to teach the best of the students to rise to high standards. In the process, the real growth takes place in the instructor. They learn by teaching. The act of teaching produces a finer eye and a more certain application of hand, because the quest for true understanding has never left them.
Stan Miller is a prime example of this. His excellent paintings, both plain air and characterizations, are already lasting evidence of his achievements.
What about you?
Do you have a special inward attachment to the delicacies of art? Of any form of art? If you do, my reader, you should start at once and pursue with discipline. Because the nature of art manifests most truly to those who undertake it, in any form, with a devotion that never stops. Find your passion and give it birth. The beginning is always tough, always elementary, but genius may very well be resident in your desire to understand and manifest it. How will you ever know if you don’t pursue it?
If you care to venture into the world of art as an artist, then do this: Open the windows to your heart, let your inner imagination fly out into the open air of reality like a bird, a beautiful bird, for others to see. Soon you will find an audience, and that audience will grow so long as you pursue it, because the appreciation of art exists in all of humanity.
People who cannot quite do what you learned to achieve will follow you. They will become your fans because you are manifesting concepts and images and sounds (for musicians) that they wish they could produce.
Good luck! I hope you will try the nature of art.