Inspired by her immediate surroundings, Shantel Miller considers her artistic practice as intimate as a spiritual relationship. As the daughter of Jamaican ministers who immigrated to Canada, Christianity has deeply influenced Millers understanding of herself in relation to the world. Shantel Miller intentionally works with oil paint to make portraits as it allows for a kind of appropriation to take place. Traditionally, portraits made with oil usually connote power, class and gender. As a black woman choosing to use oil paints to make portraits, her paintings hope to renew and reinvest possibilities that can democratize image making.
At the core of her work, she is interested in creating visual language that interrogates representational models of meaning, specifically societal constructs of blackness and layers symbolic references including biblical texts, lived experiences, and figures to suggest relationships between cultural signifiers that influence perception and identity. She views her artistic practice as a reflective process documenting moments of intimacy and tension in everyday spiritual encounters.
In 2013, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCADU), majoring in Drawing and Painting.
Miller has exhibited her work extensively across Canada, in Miami for Art NADA and Art Aqua, has recently completed a residency on Cuttyhunk Island along the coast of Boston, Massachusetts and is currently working as an artist in residence at Nia Centre for the Arts in Toronto, ON.