Navot Miller transforms everyday scenes into moments of blissful harmony with his vivid colour palette
We take a walk through the Berlin-based artist’s process, influences and how he is most inspired by “uneventful, banal moments”.
- Olivia Hingley
- 13 June 2022
Deep royal blues, bright, almost-neon yellows and soft pastel pinks – it’s Navot Miller’s exceptional use of colour that makes his work stand out. This attraction and penchant for bold colours, the artist explains, goes as far back as he can remember, and has since informed both his practice and the way he views the world. “I like to span contrasting worlds and I use colour in an attempt to add harmony to my subject matters,” Navot details. “I enjoy colour because I believe it soothes and often brings peace to a space. It makes things more approachable for me.”
Navot only began painting in January 2021, a seemingly incongruous fact when viewing his confident and established style. Moving from Israel to Berlin in 2013 to attend art school, Navot found himself primarily drawing, then frequently using graphite, to then switch things over to pastels. But he kept getting feedback that his work leant itself to paint, so it was only a matter of time before he would pick up the brush. This, alongside his move to a much bigger studio “enabled and inspired me not only to work larger but to finally shift from paper to canvas and from water-based pastel to oils”.
Discussing some of his stylistic influences, Navot lands on a notable trio: David Hockney, Caravaggio and Amy Sherald. And, certainly, despite their varied approaches, his work has visible hints of all three. Hockney’s lounging, pastel-coloured depictions of queer culture, Caravaggio’s delicate and wondrous depiction of the naked form, and Amy Sherald’s distinctive use of pattern – they all rear their heads in Navot’s work. But to entirely compare the artist’s work would be a disservice to the uniqueness it displays.
This uniqueness is rooted in how much the pieces appear as precious insights into both Navot’s public life and his intimate life. Interacting with and combining numerous themes, from his sexual orientation to childhood, religion, heartache, a brief moment after sex, a hook-up and “uneventful, banal moments” he captures the highs, the lows and the very meandering essence of life. “I find something powerful about painting such moments in a way that will pause and enhance it,” he says. While most of Navot’s pieces have a peaceful, meditative quality about them, some in their stark relatability verge on the humorous. In Zach on a Toilet Seat, a figure sits on the toilet, one hand raised. And, whilst being faceless, you can sense his laughing objection to being caught in such a personal moment.
Most recently, Navot has “revisited very memorable moments from the past two years”, and in response, completed a body of work that celebrates being gay and Jewish, which will show this coming July in New York. And alongside this, Navot has much larger scale plans for the future: “I would like to paint interior and public spaces. I would like to paint a synagogue pink. To paint a football court, to paint an aeroplane and trains,” the painter concludes. We’re sure the list goes on.
Grove Collective: Navot Miller, Alex & Philippe & Willi & Zach. (Copyright © James Bryant, 2022)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.