I Am The One I’ve Been Waiting For Harland Miller
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I Am The One You’ve Been Waiting For is a set of prints by Harland Miller from 2011 – 2013, all of which are based on the dust jackets of Penguin books. Miller is best known for his creative reinvention of the Penguin dust jackets, as seen in these prints, which he began in 2001. This revered artistic practise was fundamental in launching Miller’s artistic career and has become closely associated with the artist’s name.
In the Penguin series, Miller takes the familiar format and motif of the Penguin books title page, and substitutes his own title, which is often sarcastic or witty and occasionally carries with it some kind of social critique.
Penguin books first started publishing in 1935 and soon became a recognisable and loved brand with a loyal fanbase. The iconic books became collectible items, much like Miller’s own book cover artworks, evident in his excellent market performance.
Miller’s works featuring “I Am The One You’ve Been Waiting For” include a signed Giclée print in red (2011) and a yellow screen print (2012), a red and yellow variation (2012) as well as a deckchair (2013) and beach towel (2013). These prints are archetypal of Miller’s body of work adapting the classical Penguin book dust jacket, with bold blocks of colour dominating the print and capitalised black text drawing the viewer’s attention towards the witty title. This is emblematic of how Miller explores the relationship between the abstract, bold background colour and the embedded text.
The Penguin series reflects Miller’s keen interest in reading and love for literature. Miller actually first achieved widespread critical recognition as a writer. Published in 2000, he wrote Slow Down Arthur, Stick to Thirty, as well as a variety of shorter novels, such as First I Was Afraid, I Was Petrified (2000). As well as a talented artist, Miller’s writing career was very successful and he did a Writer’s Residency at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston in 2002, where he devoted an entire season to curating workshops and events around the 19th century British author Edgar Allan Poe. His adoration for literature shines through his art, especially prints like I Am The One You've Been Waiting For in which writing and literature are an integral part of the artwork. As well as Edgar Allan Poe, Miller loved writers like Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald. He continued to incorporate his love of classical literature and these authors throughout his works, experimenting with a dual literature/art approach.
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