Experiential Being: Sunflowerman – Part 1
Written by: Anthony Hagan Images by Matthew Miller (Sunflowerman)

Sunflowerman is a ubiquitous entity online.  His illustrations have ethereally appeared almost everywhere in men’s fashion and social media.  Style.No.Chaser would not be a force to reckon with if we did not acknowledge Matt Miller(Sunflowerman) as one of the hardest working and relevant beasts in menswear today.  Our interview was so broad and captivating that we made it a two series feature.  His brand, a persona that began on a whim, in now omnipotent and very introspective presence to behold.

See Part 1 of the amazing interview below …

“With menswear I get to change a small part of the world …”

Please tell us a little about yourself – your childhood, siblings, where you grew up, what you liked as a child, strange thoughts as a child/now, unique attributes, where you live now, etc.?

That’s a lot of question to pack into a little answer. I grew up in beautiful Grand Rapids, Michigan. As the middle of 5 kids you might think I would get lost in the crowd, but when I was younger I was the favorite. It was a great place to be. Anger ruled most of my days. At school I was an angel, an angel who was good at doing school. At home, I was a terror to everyone who knew and loved me.

Then, at some point, I grew out of it.  Drawing has always been a present and consuming aspect of my life. It chose me, I didn’t have a choice. People wonder if I’m talented, they ask if I’ve always been good at drawing, they are amazed that I can passably create something beautiful, but it’s not a talent. It is an all-consuming passion that will not leave me be. There is no peace from it, though I do find peace in it.

I am currently living the nomadic life with my wife Ruth. We met in Atlanta where I had lived for four years, married in Texas and then lived in Europe for nearly a year. Currently we are addressless.

There is a lot of great information about your art style on your website so we will keep questions about this light – do you only use watercolors for your work or do you use other tools/media?

Oh man I love watercolors. We had a love/hate relationship for a while. But now it’s just love, all love, all the time. That doesn’t mean I don’t still feel affectionate to acrylics. Acrylics have a special place in my heart and I have a set of works that I think will blow up one day, and it’s all acrylic. Oils, I’ve never cared for oil paints. I’ve painted with them before but we just didn’t mesh. I love graphite, sharpie, India ink and absolutely hate, I mean HATE charcoal- it’s too messy.

A lot of your work is done over newspaper- or book-like pages with words – why do you do this?

It’s for the context. Words are powerful. Words move nations and have changed the world time and time again. Words provide meaning just through their existence. 

I like to do my Menswear Fine Art on Sherlock Holmes book pages. Sherlock is the quintessential man. It just works so perfectly. Additionally I like to use great artists like Shakespeare, science books, math, world history, language, poetry and classic literature.

What does your art mean to you?

I like to make beautiful things and to make people happy. Another way of saying it – I like to change the world. With menswear I get to change a small part of the world, but I know that I got to play a role, hopefully a significant one. After I’m dead and gone the majority of my work will have gone to waste, but some small part of it will live on, will continue to effect humanity when I have been forgotten. That’ what my art means to me.

What fashion item/s do you like drawing the most?

I love drawing men in suits. The suit is so dense with history. There is bravery, bigotry, beauty, depravity, love, fear and I get to play with it all.

Which one fashion item that you own is your most beloved and why?

Oh shoot! I don’t know. Don’t make me choose. This is a sick question. How can you make me face the rest of my style when I call out one part as my favorite? 

It’s really a tossup amongst my pencil, eyewear, coffee or sketchbook. All of these are essential to my identity at this point. How do I get the passion to draw without the coffee? How do I see what I want to draw without my glasses? How do I make a mark without my pencil? Where does my mark go without my sketchbook? I want to cry right now thinking about losing any one of these items. Like, I’m just about tearing up right now. Thanks.

What color combination do you think works best for the Fall season – how would you instruct someone to wear this e.g.. pants, shirt, sweater, shoes, etc.?

Ah, my wife would know the acceptable colors. The colors that go with Fall. I never understand these things. I always mess them up. I love the color of crisp cool air, crunching leaves and the stinging in the back of my throat after playing football too late into the evening. The color of warm and cozy homes and large meals with family. 

If you are in the North then I suggest a French terry sweater with wool trousers and a pair of hiking boots. If you are in the South then a light cardigan with blue jeans and chukkas. Usually I suggest that people don’t’ listen to my advice. It’s my own eclectic oddity that shouldn’t be thrust upon anyone else.

Who is your favorite fashion designer and why?

Yikes. You’ve found me out of my depth here. A designer that is my favorite. Ok, I would have to say that right now it is Brunello Cucinelli. Of course I am jumping on a band wagon that has very nearly finished its parade route already but I mean, c’mon, it’s an Italian success story in the midst of an Italian recession.

What Brunello has done with Cashmere and subsequently what he has created in his hometown is inspirational. The philosophy of a Brunello Cucinelli is derived from a deep sense of self and from studying great philosophers. I want to learn Italian just so I can have a conversation with Brunello one day.

Is there any particular emotion that you try to evoke from your audience with your work?

It depends on the painting, but generally I like strike awe into my audiences. The beauty of mystique and wonder is powerful and gratifying. If I can make someone stop and marvel then I have done my job. But like I said, it depends on what the painting is about.

How can people learn more about your current and upcoming works?

Go to my website and sign up for the Sunflowerman Team. I share all of the projects I am working on and I share my ideas for new projects before they become reality. And follow Sunflowerman on social media @sunflowerman.

Look out for Experiential Being: Sunflowerman – Part 2  COMING SOON!!!!

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