contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Interview Questions from Willow

1. I absolutely love your collage style. How long have you been doing collages and how did your specific style evolve?

Thank you kindly Willow. Near and dear to my heart is the authentic, creative voice each of us has. Artists, engineers, Mom’s, teachers, kids, everybody has one. The story of seeking my own artistic voice, learning to hear my own voice, and of nurturing it isn’t linear, of course. I had a desire. I sought ways to learn. I read. I chose a few good art workshops. I was taught about and really studied design elements and principals. I worked. I worked some more. When I was stuck, I wrote, and I worked and I studied. (See #5 below, tenacity.) I worked some more. I really do ask myself the question “I wonder what would happen if I…?" And then I try it. Now I use a variety of papers I have prepared, using paints, inks and anything else, and my own techniques which have evolved from techniques I was taught. Using organic shapes, non-objective imagery, patterns and marks, and a limited color palette isn’t easy, but I like the challenge. And I have learned to give myself the gift of permission; permission to experiment, and permission to like some results better than others. It’s all good. I suppose I have been making collage in one form or another about 15 or more years, but I have been more serious about it for the past 10 years.

2. I know this is a tough one, but if you could pick just one artist, living or from history, to have dinner with, who would it be and why?

John Lennon. Because I miss him. We could have had so much more of him. I hope he brings Yoko. Wow, what a night!

But Suki,
if you want to join John, Yoko and I, I’d love to join you and Emily Carr! (I got around those directions, didn’t I?)

3. Other than your loved ones, what is your most treasured tangible possession?

I thought about this question more than any of the others. I think I am past the point of treasured possessions, although there are many things I truly enjoy. I grew up with a Mom who treasured so many things as symbols of love and of her family who were far away. I’m a bit worn out by that. I realize I will not take anything with me “but my soul” (see #2 above, can you hear him sing it?) So here is a possession that makes me smile. It is an antique mahjong set. After my Mom died we found living relatives (via who grew up with Mom. Her cousin filled me in on the mahjong set. My Mom, her cousin and Mom’s brother taught themselves how to play with this set, using the Encyclopedia Britannica, which is as you know, a precursor to the modern day Internet. I love that story, and I love the little drawers, the feel and the sound of the tiles, and the translated directions. In the directions, circa 1924, one move is described as “too regrettable to be endured.” I can’t help but giggle at that one! Once in a while my friends and I play using this set.

4. What is your greatest accomplishment?

Allowing and encouraging myself to evolve and grow, really celebrating my life, on this planet, and in this time.

5. What is your most marked characteristic?


6. What’s up with the camera?

After several days drying out the old camera began to work, just like it always had. By then Kurt had ordered his new SLR Canon EOS with a 28 to 80 mm lens. So the old point and shoot is mine, and if I am very, very good, perhaps I can take pictures of my art with the new one. Boy, does it take nice photos!

There are wonderful people who read this blog. I would love to interview each and every one of you. Please, don’t be shy! It’s fun!


1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview
someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


  1. Oh-oh-oh! My grandparents had a vintage Mah-Jong set just like his one! I used to love how the tiles felt when I was a little girl, before I could understand how to play. I was so sad to find out that Grandpa had sold it at a garage sale!!

    Excellent interview, Leslie! Really nice to get to know you better. Thank you.

  2. Really really enjoyed reading this Leslie and can I come and join the dinner party for John Lennon and Yoko (fantastic - very Fluxus!!) and by the way Yoko has a big exhibition of her work at the Baltic in Newcastle - haven't managed to get to it yet but hope to do so before it finishes at the end of the month! I loved doing my interview with Mary Ann at Blue Sky Dreaming

  3. Leslie, great interview. You write as well as you create art. And it sounds as though maybe you inherited your tenacity from your mother's side of the family; learning to play from the encyclopedia would have been an exercise in tenacity for me.

  4. another wonderful interview by Willow - really enjoyed this - ooooo, you still have your little camera! aren't they just the toughest things?

  5. Leslie, Great interview! I so understand the time involved in creating your own have accomplished a wonderful 'way' of expressing yourself and I'm sure of it's evolvement.
    I miss John too and so often wonder what could have been?
    Mary Ann

  6. Leslie, I read your interwiew in the same breath! Admirable! Beautiful!

  7. I have read and re-read this interview a few times now.
    Wonderful reading Leslie, you write so beautifully...Love John, and yes I miss him too.
    I like the word "Mahjong" love saying it too...great set by the way!
    The camera is wonderful (I have one too)I can look forward to seeing some great images :)

  8. Wonderful answers to some really interesting questions.
    I so greatly admire your 'work'
    ethic,,,which obviously has paid off!

  9. Willow: thank you for the lovely questions. Perhaps a vintage mahjong set will reappear in your life. They are yummy.

    Ms. Rambling Rose: Oh yes, you can join John and Yoko and I for dinner. It’s a Fluxes party! If you see Yoko’s exhibit, I do hope you will tell us about it.

    Mary: I doubt I would have learned from an encyclopedia either.

    Jeane: it is a tough little camera. And it does fit in a purse.

    Mary Ann: Finding my voice has taken time, and of course it’s ever evolving. It is so very worth the effort and struggle!

    I Love B& W: It is always to have a visit from you!

    Jo: Missing John is something I suspect many of us have in common. It was so shocking to loose him. I bet you know where you were when you heard the news. The word mahjong is a lot of delicious fun!

    Babs: Thanks for visiting here. I haven’t thought of it as work ethic, just a compulsion. I guess it is both. Do come again!

  10. It is wonderful to get to know you a little better Leslie - you write so well too...A friend gave me a small book of fantastical pictures taken with a camera the author had dropped in water...the book is called The Magic Camera...the camera never worked right again but it takes wonderful artworks! (..that same friend also gave me a MahJong game which I have never used yet!)

  11. I'm really enjoying these interviews. Interesting that you should choose John Lennon as your dinner guest. There was a time when I might have said the same but there are so many sculptors and painters I would like to chat to so John would now be at the end of my list.

  12. Leslie,
    I have been enjoying your blog since my friend Donna Watson mentioned it to me. I would love to have you interview me :) Love your answers and your mahjong set, which is very similar to my grandmother's. Thanks for all your posts....


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