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Meet Andrew Millar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrew Millar.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I have lived in Houston, Texas since the mid 1960’s. I love the automobile, especially those of the muscle car era. The thunder of the exhaust, the smell of burning rubber, and the need for speed offers that rush of adrenaline that routine daily life cannot offer.

The images portrayed in the art are not just about the automobiles, but the culture that has evolved around them, namely the human factor. Many of the images reflect the enthusiasm of the car cruises and shows, the restorations, the barn finds, the spirit of competition, and the joy that common everyday people find through their romance with the automobile.

Most of the photography presented in my work was created from photos taken at local car events in and around Houston, Texas. I combine these photos with background photos of vintage gas stations, diners, highways, or sometimes just something made from scratch. I use Adobe Photoshop to accomplish the final results. If you are from the Houston area and happen to own an old car, you may see your car in one of the photos.

I’m planning another trip this year down Route 66 and various locations around Texas to shoot more vintage backgrounds. I have fifty or so locations already located and have the trip all laid out. It should be an interesting adventure. Perhaps someday I will be able to do it in a classic vehicle. It would be almost like time travel. lol

Please tell us about your art.
My art is digital photography, specializing in automobillia. The subjects include vintage, classic, restomod, muscle cars, exotic super cars, and my favorite the rat rods. I usually find my subject matter (the cars) at street meets and local outdoor car events. I never photograph cars at indoor car shows or auctions due to the lighting. I usually won’t photograph a car if the hood is up of the door is open. It just doesn’t look right to me. Very few of my photographs make it to editing to be used in my work. I heard once that there is only one good shot in every thousand taken. I think it may be more like one in fifty. But with cars it can be tough. The paint, especially on the show cars, is like a mirror. It grabs everything to the horizon, if you are not really careful. I hate repainting a car in Photoshop and usually won’t do it unless everything else is too good to toss out. One of the reasons I like rat rods is because paint is never an issue. They are almost always finished in a beautiful rusty patina or satin black or gray primer. I may go to a show and take 400 photos, but only feel inspired by one photo or car. That one becomes my inspiration to create. I will look at the lighting, angle, the attitude and decide what setting is required. I may try various backgrounds once the car is cut out from the original shot. Sometimes a piece only takes a couple hours, other times possibly days before I’m satisfied with it. If I’m not satisfied, it is not for sale.

Message? I think the message is to share the nostalgia, America’s love of the automobile. Automobiles offered freedom to the common man. They opened up the world not unlike the internet. Before the automobile, twenty miles was a day’s journey. Sure, trains and ships made traveling great distances possible, but they were restricted to scheduled stops and routes. The automobile was affordable and could go anywhere the road went.

Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
I have no idea. I am retired and this is just something that I really love to do. I will say that being self-taught, give it your all and don’t give up. Learning how to use Photoshop was at first a challenge. So many buttons! Lol But I’m really good with finding anything on the interweb. One day I found a site called PHLEARN. This guy has a lot of free tutorials and he is really good at explaining and walking you through the steps to accomplish each task. In the beginning I spent 18 hours a day learning how to use Photoshop. The big break was learning how to use the pen tool to cut out my subject. I have spent thousands of hours teaching myself. So, don’t give up. Take a break if you need, but don’t give up. You can do this.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Deviant Art:

I have been setting up at the Niftee 50ees Classic Cruisers Car Shows on Saturday nights during the car season, but they are presently looking for a new host venue. I have been invited to other car shows and on occasion will accept the invitation if it is not too far away. I have about twenty or thirty pieces that I display on grid when I setup. Most of the photos are 12″ x 18″ and matted and framed.

I would love to do a gallery show, but not sure who to approach.

I’m not connected in the art community, since I have only been doing this a few years now.

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