You Can Rely On Me I'll Always Let You Down is a classic example from Harland Miller’s famous Penguin prints series, which marked a seismic moment in his artistic career when he first started it in 2001. Upon finding a box of used Penguin books near the Notre Dame in Paris, he was struck with inspiration by their familiar, nostalgia-evoking cover design, as well as simplistically colour-coded layout and its effect on the title of the book and its meaning to one looking at it. “I realised that the design of those classics would throw all the focus on to the title of the book, which is exactly what I wanted to do.(…)People are so used to the format already with the text in the middle that you could really say whatever you wanted.”
He appropriates both the design as well as their rugged, second-hand look through making his original paintings over high resolution digital photographs, hijacking the design with his own clever, sardonic titles that often deal with heavy topics and formulate social critique. Thus, Miller explores the complex relationship between text and image, and reality and representation through the process of quasi “producing” meaning. As his main artistic influences, Miller cites Mark Rothko, saying that the Penguin series remind him of the Colour Field paintings in their sophisticated use of colour. Other artists Miller’s practice is informed by are Anselm Kiefer, Ed Ruscha and Robert Rauschenberg, as well as seminal authors Ernest Hemingway and Edgar Allan Poe.