Harland Miller is a British artist and author who is best known for his large-scale, photo-realistic paintings, posters, and prints of vintage Penguin book covers. A critically acclaimed novelist as well as an influential painter, his practice explores the combination of image and text, similar in scope to American artist Ed Ruscha. “There’s always been this compunction to write on pictures,” he has observed. The covers he paints often feature his own invented, sardonic titles combined with the iconic Penguin logo. His muted tones and painterly brushstrokes imbue his canvases with the worn character of a used book, yet often convey subversive socio-political critiques. Miller received both his BA and MA from the Chelsea College of Art in London, where he currently lives and works. His solo exhibitions include those held at the White Cube in London, Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York, and the Royal Academy of Arts in London, among others.
In 2001 Miller produced a series of paintings based of the dust jackets of Penguin books. By combining the motif inherent in the Penguin book, Miller found a way to marry aspects of Pop Art, abstraction and figurative painting at once, with his writer’s love of text. The ensuing images are humorous and nostalgic at the same time, while the painting style hints at the dog-eared, scuffed covers of the Penguin classics themselves. Miller continues to create work in this vein, expanding the book covers to include his own phrases, some hilarious and absurd, others with a lush melancholy.