R. A. Miller Works on Metal
R. A. did the work of hand shaping lightweight materials like salvaged tin with metal shears.
For heavy rib or corrugated steel roof panels (salvage donated from deconstructed buildings such as chicken coops) he used a circular saw. Counter-intuitively, R. A. removed the saw blade and turned it 180 degrees. Using a circular saw on metal cuts “faster” than with wood and the metal can grab the saw blade and the operator’s arm(s) can be severed “clean off”— dangerous, noisy, and edgy work indeed. (I documented this technique on one of my first trips to Rabbittown with a Sony Stereo Video Sound Camera and it produces a sound equally grating as fingernails on a chalkboard).
R. A.'s children assisted with the painting and finishing.
All works acquired between 1990-1996 directly from the RA in Rabbittown, Old Cornelia Highway, near Gainesville, Georgia. In the autumn and winter seasons I baked cornbread for RA and his wife and arrived early in the morning sometimes before they were up and about. Cornbread is delicious on chilly mornings and they really appreciated my thoughtfulness. I have 35mm chromes and about two hours of video of RA working, talking, preaching, and life in Rabbittown.
R. A. Miller’s (1912–2006) work have been exhibited in numerous institutions and are in the permanent collection of prestigious museums: The Georgia Museum of Art, Athens – “Lord Love You: Works by R.A. Miller from the Mullis Collection” (2009); Brenau University's Simmons Visual Arts Center – “R.A. Miller: A Tribute” (2006); The High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and the alfresco Folk Art Park at the corner of Ralph McGill Blvd N.E. and Courtland Street N.E., downtown Atlanta, established during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games (Games of the XXVI Olympiad).
Some works were signed in black marker and others were signed with gold metallic marker (that I brought along each time I visited —my “trademark” style of customization).
Most have the typical R. A. signature motto: “Lord Love You”.
All of R.A. Miller's metal works have sharp edges and sides. Care must be taken when handling these metal works! It is typical for them to have holes, rust, peeling paint, fading and discolored paint, and other imperfections because they were procured from salvaged materials and repurposed for his art works. Nail holes are typical because he tacked them to the side of his house when presented for sale