“organizing the fray”


I am very excited about this. Vancouver based artist Sarah Gee Miller is one of my most favorite people in the world. She is so talented (and self-taught by the way), incredibly generous, one of the only people I truly feel comfortable talking to about my own work… and she bakes a mean blueberry muffin. Sarah and I cover everything in this interview – from a life-altering accident she was in at 15, to finding her way to an art career decades later. A lot of you have been asking me to make these episodes longer, so Sarah and I just kept talking and talking! I loved every minute of this conversation (but be warned, there are a few bleeped out swear words in there… shocking, I know.) You can listen right up there, under that perfect circular drawing, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

Alright, let’s get things started with the first of Sarah’s work that I ever saw… big, beautiful, perfectly-cut circles of paper:


So gorgeous! Photos don’t do them justice. They’re really big, and really bright, so seeing them in person takes your breath away. Here are the two “city block” pieces she was talking about (there’s a bit of a glare because she had already mounted them/put plexiglass on them before taking the photos):


Oh. I love them so much. And because I just can’t get enough of her circles, here are a few recent pieces in progress/moments before they were shipped off to shows:


I love those studio shots… pre-mounting, just hanging out on her sunlit floor. Ok, now, moving on to the drawing machine! Yes, Sarah built her own revolving drawing machine, and luckily for me, she invited me over to try it out:


So fun! I wish I could take credit for the drawings above, but alas, those ones were created with Sarah’s expert hand. I made a few that were ok… I was just happy to get out of there without being sick (that machine makes you dizzy!). I left there with the pieces I made AND that beautiful piece she gave me as a gift (that now sits above my fireplace beside “Rosie”, my pink doe by Rachel Denny)

Next, the pieces she’s been working on lately. These ones aren’t paper, but styrene (a type of plastic), that she cuts and then paints:


So much work. So much careful work. We talked about how meticulous her pieces are, and the fact that she works on the floor… both of which sort of blow my mind considering the devastating accident she was in as a teenager. But, she tells me that being on her knees and working on the floor is much more comfortable than standing or sitting. Whatever works, Sarah, whatever works! I think her story is so inspiring. She’s overcome so much, and even though she suffers from chronic pain she is such a joyful person. See…


Jumping over art and drinking champagne on the floor. That’s how you do it! And finally, in the speed round I asked her to clarify a myth about cats. I think she lied to me though. Note the proof I found on her Instagram feed:


Ah-ha, I knew it! Cats do lie on your supplies/work! Busted. Oh well, they’re cute so we’ll leave that alone. Thanks so much to Sarah for taking an hour and a half (?!) out of her day to do this with me, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode, and great big thanks to you for listening! There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other Links

  1. Jessica Bell
  2. Ben Skinner
  3. Zoe Pawlak
  4. Wayne White
  5. Mayberry Fine Art, Toronto


comments (23)

  1. Jennifer langhammer /// 04.16.2016 /// 8:04am

    I’m listening to the wonderful Sarah Gee Miller podcast and it’s so reassuring to hear an artist who struggled it make it happen. I love how inventive she is and her work. I love the podcast and am excited for the longer format. Thank you for everything you do.

  2. Kacy /// 04.16.2016 /// 9:20am

    I always love the artists featured on this blog but this one of my favorites! My mind is blown. And, I would really like to be her friend! I love love love this!

  3. Sarah A. /// 04.16.2016 /// 12:58pm

    I enjoyed this so much! This was my first time listening, and I’m glad I picked this episode. I am so grateful to hear how both you and Miller have come into your own as artists, without playing by the art school / art world “rules” that can be so restrictive. Thank you for talking about making art with joy. I was not bored for a single moment.

  4. Kara Rane /// 04.16.2016 /// 3:52pm

    As vibrant as the Art! Sarah- thank you for sharing your early life struggles…this brought a lot of hope. I completely understand the creative process as taking you away from physical, mental or spiritual “pain”. And perhaps, there is some healing via chromotherapy that the viewer also feels. Thank you Danielle for this series and your conversational style. *best wishes*

  5. Lindsay Arnold /// 04.16.2016 /// 5:11pm

    One of the best interviews to date! Although, I have been haunted the rest of the day by the curator that didn’t want to show her work so she had him BURN it. And she shook it off? That takes guts. Pure guts.

  6. Nicole Reddington /// 04.16.2016 /// 5:42pm

    Loved hearing the “unofficial” part of the interview at the end – GO FOR IT Daniel- your collages are hysterical & beautiful at the same time! Such a rare combo 🙂

  7. Julie /// 04.17.2016 /// 5:03am

    Wonderful, bold work!! and another lovely person.
    What is it about 42+ age thing? I am talking about it constantly at the moment!
    Have a great week!

  8. Michael JOyal /// 04.17.2016 /// 8:35am

    Simply one of the best yet. It was a joy to listen to Sarah as I painted in the studio/bedroom. Very inspiring. What is it about going to art college where they don’t teach you how to use the medium, Danielle. I had the exact experience at NSCAD in the early 90s.

  9. Hilda /// 04.17.2016 /// 4:03pm

    Three cheers for the longer episode! Thank you Danielle – I did listen while I was working today. All the best as you consider the next steps for your collages.

  10. Samantha Dennison /// 04.17.2016 /// 4:43pm

    Gosh, I loved this! Thank you x

  11. Christa David /// 04.17.2016 /// 5:15pm

    And yes I was painting while listening! It was the perfect length. Sarah is so inspiring. I love that she brings her natural inquisitiveness to her work. The drawing machine sounds awesome! Another great episode Danielle! I can’t get enough of Art for your Ear and am so grateful it and The Jealous Curator exists for self-taught artist like myself. I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again – Art for Your Ear is huge part of my DIY art school education. ***HUGS and HI5s***

  12. Megan Carty /// 04.18.2016 /// 6:23am

    Loved the longer format!!! This was so inspiring and fun to listen to; and there was more to enjoy! Congrats to Sarah for following her instincts and going for it! Artistic joy is there for the taking! It’s not just for those who schooled in it!

  13. Kirrily Anderson /// 04.18.2016 /// 8:21pm

    Such a great episode – an hour and a half was perfect! Also really inspiring to hear another artist with chronic pain discuss their process and routine.
    Art For Your Ear is easily my favourite podcast to work to in the studio. Thank you so much Danielle for these weekly treats! (Loved hearing an Aussie accent a number of episodes back too!) x

  14. Megan Woodard Johnson /// 04.19.2016 /// 11:07am

    Oh my goodness…as a 42 year old who has in just the last year finally started to accept my own voice in terms of my art- and stop trying to figure out what other people might want to see, I was so happy to hear this podcast- especially the last ‘evesdroppy’ segment. F*ck it! Having fun making what makes me happy! Also: Danielle- your collages are wonderful- don’t doubt them!

  15. laura /// 04.20.2016 /// 10:30am

    i really really loved this one! so inspirational and her work is just mesmerizing. as someone who has also been finding their voice later in life, it is particularly reassuring to hear. thank you!

  16. Danielle Michaud /// 04.21.2016 /// 10:24am

    Loved listening to this on my lunch break! A lot of this resonates with me, I moved to a new place with a new job, and a little piece of me is dying on the inside because I do not have “my people” here with me to chat about our artwork. I love hearing how other people figure out their process and how they evolve. Side note – I also started out as a biology major in a school that focused on marine studies, and immediately knew I was in the wrong place, and swapped over to Graphic Design, requiring me to look at different schools. I feel you!

  17. Heidi Lanino /// 04.27.2016 /// 8:31am

    Such a great interview really loved it and the longer format, worked the whole time.

  18. bernicky /// 05.02.2016 /// 8:34am

    Dead, solid, perfect. Great episode start to finish. Inspiration to the Nth degree.

  19. Elissa S Nesheim /// 05.02.2016 /// 9:22am

    i absolutely love these meditative circles. they also remind me of jawbreakers. 😀 and portals and all sorts of wonderful things. and sarah is SO lovely. what a sweet person and such a great gal to have in your corner to run ideas and new work through. the long episode was superb. <3 xo-e

  20. Jordan Stafford /// 05.03.2016 /// 1:19pm

    It was so refreshing to hear the bit about your post BFA life. I shed actual tears because I’m two years out of college, living with my parents, with an untouched studio and still no clue. There’s so much comfort to know the chaos gets easier to navigate. Your podcast in such an inspiration. I’m so grateful to hear all these artists’ experiences.

  21. the jealous curator /// 05.03.2016 /// 10:05pm

    oh jordan. i hear ya. the key is to keep making. even if you get into that untouched studio and do a little something every day. not masterpieces. just something. that’s the key to navigating forward. good luck! xo

  22. Emily /// 10.07.2016 /// 4:05pm

    I really did pause and get coffee and chocolate!! Love the extra long convo!

  23. Steph Holmes /// 12.07.2016 /// 7:56am

    Loved her work, loved her story, loved the long episode. Please keep it up! I feel so inspired to keep working on this long, rainy studio day.