Graeme Miller: Messy Human/ Imperfect Artist
Hailing from the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, Graeme Miller is a Leeds based artist who is finding himself in high demand of late. Describing himself as a ‘Messy Human’, he is a versatile artist whose unique vision champions the preservation of human imperfection in the form of art. During his time in Leeds he has performed spoken word as a member of the Context Collaborative, released a handful of tape-recorded singles and is the active fly-on-the-wall photographer for BabyStep Magazine. His most recent endeavour has been becoming a hand-poke tattoo artist, with an emphasis on the therapeutic value of tattooing. Whether it be expressing himself as a poet, musician, visual artist or tattooist, Miller works to deconstruct the flawed contemporary ideals of vanity and perfection that consume even the best of us. The vulnerability in Graeme’s work is coupled with a distinct humility that shines through in his modest demeanour. We talked to Graeme all about his contribution to the magazine and the creative work he does outside it. Graeme Miller is an imperfect artist and a beautifully messy human.
Please tell us your name, age, role in the magazine and what you currently
My name is Graeme Miller. I am a multimedia artist, photographer and
musician based here in Leeds. I’m 21. I do some design work with Babystep,
I’ve photographed for a few interviews, featured on Babystep Radio and I’m
currently acting as the resident ‘fly on the wall’ photographer for the
Tell us how you got involved with BabyStep and what your role is within the
I met Josh through Rob, who I lived with in my first year at uni and we all lived
together last year. I live with Josh now. We’ve got a nice little creative hub set
up in our place now.
Tell us about some other projects you’re involved in.
I am a member of the Leeds based poetry and spoken word group Context
Collaborative, which has helped guide several poetry projects over the last few
years. I’m currently working on a book of poems and a followup to my the
string of singles I’ve released in the past year, as well as a zine chronicling the
shit that goes on behind the scenes with Babystep. I also have a new little one-
stop-shop set up for my prints and other good stuff.
What does BabyStep mean to you?
To me, Babystep is about community. It’s why I love photographing our events
as well as the before and after. Babystep is a unified ambition, loss of inhibition
and a love for music and art and creation. Real good times.
You do Photography, Art and Music. Do you have a favourite?
Music has been a part of my life for the longest so I suppose that’d be my
favourite, but I don’t think I could imagine giving any of them up.
Do you think all three of them compliment each other?
For a long time I think I’ve thought of them just as isolated things that I do but
I’m starting to look at it as one practice. I don’t really let them stand alone any
more. Everything I do, regardless of medium is done with the same intent.
Whether that interest in championing mistakes and imperfections and accidents
is expressed in a photograph or a song or a poem, it’s all the same thing to me.
What is your best memory so far from being part of BabyStep?
Impossible to pick just one. Our first event in November was incredible. Big
thanks to everyone for that. I loved doing our first few radio shows last year.
Seeing people having fun at our event at The Old Red Bus Station really
pumped me up. Maybe that time when the police stopped us fly-posting and
told us to ‘keep our heads down’ and ‘watch out for the council’. I don’t know.
All good memories.
Are there any particular things that really inspire you to make the art you do?
I think people and their stories and beliefs are what inspire most of what I
make. I see my photography as a way of creating characters and stories, and
sometimes that’s where the songs/poems come from, but it all starts with real
slices of life.
Tell us a bit about the upcoming BabyStep Zine. What can people expect?
I tend to be a big fan of art that doesn’t seem finished. I like demos and field
recordings and test prints because I think you really get a sense of the
character(s) behind the work. It just feels more human. So that’s kinda the idea
behind the zine. It’s a view into the process behind the magazine, the time
spent working hard and the time spent hardly working.
The Zine and one of your songs has a reference to The Dome. Could you explain
to the readers the significance of the Dome?
We named our house last year The Dome - I can’t remember why - and it was
an amazing place. For me, it’s become a general reference to our shenanigans.
The song Dome Days is just about getting wild with your best friends and
feeling right at home.
Who are you favourite Artists/ Photographers at the moment?
That’s a tough one. Raymond Pettibon will always be one of my favourite
artists. That sense of DIY and punk ethos is something that ties a lot of what I
do together. I’m a big fan of the tattoo artist Corrie Foreman. Her emphasis on
the ritual and process of tattooing as opposed to the fashion or aesthetic of the
final product is something that has really inspired my work. In terms of
photography, Daniel Arnold is one of my favourites and the photographer and
poet Sean Lotman is also a real hero for me, just to name a few.
Do you have anything exciting coming up that you can tell our readers about?
I’m hoping to do a live session in the Babystep studio in the next couple weeks,
there’ll be more news on the first behind the scenes zine very soon and I have
new prints and stuff going up on my website all the time. Thank you so much! Live Large.
You can check out Graeme's One Stop Shop HERE