Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Jeremy Miranda. I live in Salem, MA with my fiancée Michelle (a.k.a. Unitedthread). I grew up in Middletown, RI and graduated from Massachusetts College of Art in 2004 with a BFA in painting. I currently work out of a studio in Gloucester, MA, which happens to be right near a really beautiful stretch of rocky coast called the Back Shore. I go there as much as possible to make small en plein air studies and sketches to use as references for larger seascapes and backdrops for a lot of my Etsy paintings.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Painting is my full-time job. I’m in the studio all the time, so when I’m not working, I want to be out somewhere with people, at the movies, hiking or at a bar playing trivia — anything to shift gears.
What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
“R&D.” It sums up what the process of making art is like for me. I research a subject, observe the color and form and develop those observations into paintings. Over and over again.
Where does your inspiration come from?
The core of my inspiration primarily comes from two things: nature (specifically landscapes and seascapes) and architecture (both primitive forms and contemporary). I’ve been compelled to paint greenhouses and icebergs because they both seem to blur the line between landscape and architecture.
What does handmade mean to you?
There’s a great quote by Buckminster Fuller: “Fire is the sun unwinding itself from the log.” I think of making art in a similar way, as an experience unwinding itself from the human mind.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
The artist Thomas Deininger has had the biggest impact on my art making. He took me on as an assistant when I was in high school. He not only taught me how to paint but also showed me, through example, that you have to be obsessed and relentless to make art. He’s still the person I go to when I’m completely lost with a project.
Stylistically, I am drawn to artists working during the turn of the 20th century like William Trost Richards, George Bellows, Tom Thomson, Rockwell Kent, and Winslow Homer to name a few. They all had an approach to nature that was both gritty and romantic which is what I’m always trying to get close to with my own work.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
We used to get an assignment in elementary school where you had to illustrate four words from the spelling list of the week. I loved this assignment and would end up making a drawing for every word. At some point I realized, while terrible at the spelling part of the assignment, I excelled at the illustrations.
How would you describe your creative process?
I work on 50-60 smaller paintings at a time (which is what I post on Etsy) and choose a handful I want to continue researching to make larger works from. These larger paintings are heavily worked through generations of paint and varnish where I intermittently sand and scrape away to reveal past layers and textures. I try and make work with the notion that my paintings may have been dragged up from the bottom of the ocean. I’m just as interested in a painting being an object as I am with it being a rendering of space.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
I fantasize about seeing the older J. M. W. Turner at work. When you see his paintings in the context of a museum all framed and polished, its very hard to imagine they were produced in a dark, sooty, secluded studio. Turner was this industrious madman who often dug at the surface of his paintings with hardened brushes, stones and his own untrimmed fingernails. I would love to see him in action, making these paintings from start to finish in hopes to steal some of his tricks. However, I imagine the scene would be so grim I’d have to view it from a distance.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My house. It was built in 1850.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
The most troubling rut I find myself getting into is balancing color. I usually notice my struggle a bit too late, when I have 10 or so paintings in front of me. The solution is simple and direct (although a bit counter-intuitive): limit your palette. In fact the solution for most things when I’m painting is never to add something, it’s always to edit.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
Making the best work of my life.