Brian Sherwin: Miles, you also create sculptural forms and installations. The Strength of 1,000 Babies and The Preservation of Intolerance captured my intention. Can you discuss these specific works and what they symbolize for you?
Miles Holbert: The strength of 1,000 Babies represents strength in numbers. Babies are naturally seen as weak and fragile. But you get a whole mess of babies and they can become overwhelming. When I look at one of the babies by itself I think “This is a cute little guy” but when I started bunching them together it became a little sinister maybe even creepy. There was definitely a shift in power from one to many. I just thought the idea of taking something that symbolizes innocence and powerlessness then giving it power buy increasing the number was an interesting idea.
The Preservation of Intolerance has to do with unwanted or haunting memories of negative events and people I have cut out of my life. I kept having dreams about these people and when I woke up I found myself thinking about them all day. Something would happen that would trigger a memory and there it would be fresh in my mind. I just made me think, that even though these events were over and that I would probably never see these people again, I would probably never get rid of these memories. That’s part of life dealing with the negative and not looking back.
Larry Davids Biggest Fan by Miles Holbert
BS: So would you say that you adhere to a specific philosophy as far as your work is concerned? Tells us more about the thoughts behind your work… perhaps you can go into further detail about society, the concerns you have, and how those concerns are reflected in your work?
MH: I don’t follow a particular philosophy more like anything goes. I do believe that art can be used to inform, educate and transform. I also feel that as an artist and as a human being I have an obligation to try to make a positive contribution to society in some way. And that’s what I try to do.
BS: Can you discuss some of your influences? For example, are you influenced by any specific artists or art movements?
MH: I am influenced from about everything in some way or another, but I don’t subscribe to any particular movement per se. Advertising is a major influence that I can think of. As far as artist go I would definitely have to say Warhol. I live about 70 miles from the Warhol Museum in Pittsburg. As a kid I would visit the museum as much as I could. Other contemporary artist I feel influence me in many ways would be Matthew Barney ,Kris Cinalli, Matt Ritchie, Jennifer Boggess, Jeff Greenham, Sarah Maple, Richard Phillips and Kehinde Wiley.
BS: What are your thoughts concerning the internet and utilizing the World Wide Web in order to gain exposure for your art? In your opinion, why is it important for artists to embrace the internet?
MH: I live in a small town in West Virginia. There are plenty of talented artist around here. From music, to theatre and visual arts but there is virtually no exposure, the local newspaper that’s it. The internet is really the only means of getting your work out their and be able to stay in a place which I personally love. It has also exposed me to so many artists and has probably influenced my work more than I realize. Artists need to embrace the internet for the simple fact that it is building a stronger art community and creating a means of exposure.
The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get by Miles Holbert
BS: Do you have any concerns about the art world at this time?
MH: The major concern I have is how the recession is going to affect art. I think about how employment in the fine art fields is going to be affected and how work is going to sell.
BS: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your art?
MH: Thanks and I hope you enjoy my work.
This is Part 2 of my interview with Miles Holbert. To read Part 1 click, HERE