Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Joshua Miels

Nowadays, you can scroll through your Instagram feed for five minutes and discover 50 new artists in the palm of your hand. Despite there being so many ideas already out there, we continue to be impressed by the creativity and work put forth by random strangers. Even though I’ve looked at more artists' profiles than I'd like to admit, Joshua Miels' fresh innovation has made him unforgettable in my mind. Joshua Miels, a contemporary portrait artist from Australia, isn’t afraid to switch it up. He combines traditional and modern techniques, jumps between different media, and lets his mood dictate the tone of his artwork.

Like Einstein and other creatives, Miels has a strong visual imagination. He doesn’t start with a final image in his mind, but rather lets the work challenge and surprise him.

Another commonality between Miels and Einstein is their early childhood curiosity within their domain (art). His earliest memories of drawing were “gluing toilet paper to a sheet of card and pouring a lot of different coloured paints onto the page.”  

Reminiscent of other creatives we have studied, Joshua Miels has a wandering imagination and an active mind. In interviews, he has explained that he cannot stay with a style longer than a few weeks. His mind keeps moving forward and doesn’t stick within the limitations of what he knows. Miels isn’t afraid to listen to the constant stream of ideas that flow through his mind. He’s comfortable with the idea of the unknown and isn’t intimidated by the option of failing.

Most importantly, Miels integrates various styles and isn’t afraid to take inspiration from other artists. While he views his biggest challenge as finding time to paint, he credits this “lack of time” for forcing him to develop a wide range of skills by studying other artists. His style is a “collaboration of many artists” he loves, brought together into his own unique work. He proves to us that collaboration is a necessary component of creativity. Even those who work in solitude still depend on their outside environment to stimulate their mind and provide the building blocks for new ideas. Gardner mentions that Einstein revered Newton even though he was willing to stand alone with his work. This ability to draw upon others for inspiration relates back to Csikszentmihalyi's three nodes of creativity: the individual talent, the field, and the domain.

Creation isn’t solitary. Not only does creation require us to build upon others’ work, but it also demands that we are capable of building upon ourselves. While Joshua Miels began as a graphic designer for packaging, he wasn’t afraid to let painting cross the line from hobby to career. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the bodies of material already out there, and it’s easy to feel underwhelmed by your own originality. Joshua Miels shows us that it’s even harder to remain uninspired by the world around us. 

Gardner, H. Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity Seen through the Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi. New York: Basic, 2011. Print.


  1. This was so well-written! I love the comparisons you draw between Einstein and Miels in their utilization of imagination and how one can work in solitude yet not be solitary in their creativity. The artwork is also beautiful, I like how you can really see the way mood often dictates the overall tone of the finished product. Thanks for sharing!

  2. There are so many things I just love about Joshua Miels' creative process! I wonder what he meant exactly by the idea that he cannot stay with a style longer than a few weeks...it seems that some creatives will dedicate up to 10 years to a particular domain or "style", and then change their direction. Perhaps he is, in fact, staying within the same domain, however I wonder if he masters them all before continuing, and how this influences his creative process compared to those of other artists.


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