Chris Miller is a self-taught artist, born and raised in Wisconsin. Originally from the rich dairyland of Calumet and Manitowoc Counties, he grew up mostly in Grafton.
     This little town – just north of Milwaukee – was once the site of a small Paramount Records recording studio. Paramount was a modest adjunct operation to a local furniture factory. Apparently, being able to fill the phonograph cabinets coming out of the factory with a convenient selection of ready-to-play records made them more appealing to customers. It makes sense. In its day, the recording studio was visited by such prewar Delta blues legends as Charlie Patton and Son House; this was part of a strategy on Paramount’s part to try tapping into the era’s small-but-growing niche market of ‘race records’. Chris was not aware of any of this while he was living in Grafton. The long-empty building had been torn down before his family even moved there.
     Currently, there is a fairly new sign and a lovely bench along the river  where everything used to be.
     Coincidentally, Miller once detonated a tennis ball bomb with his best friend under a bridge directly adjacent to the Paramount site. The explosion was underwhelming. They must have done something wrong when they put it together, probably involving the duct tape. This was years before the public even imagined a sign or a bench would one day mark the spot … in fact, the bridge itself wasn’t even that old yet. The two boys have remained friends.
     A lot has happened since then, naturally. Chris Miller moved to Milwaukee in 1996, and learned about the Paramount studio in Grafton sometime in the early 00’s. The discovery came from one of two sources: looking at a photograph of an old Blind Lemon Jefferson record, or possibly from reading some liner notes somewhere. Either way, he could hardly believe his eyes when he saw it: Grafton. “Wow … it must be true”, Miller thought incredulously. It’s funny how things happen sometimes. It all depends on a lot of different things happening or not happening in real times and places, among other things.
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Chris was an original member of the short-lived M-80 cooperative gallery in Milwaukee, and created comics for the now-defunct local comic zine “Riverwurst”. He works primarily in painting and drawing. Miller’s work can be found on this website, in his studio, in several private collections throughout the Milwaukee area, occasionally in galleries, landfills, and lord only knows where else. He has not always kept thorough records.
Thanks for coming!

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