Jason Miller's Memphis Flyer Box 2013

Memphis Flyer Box: A Cultural Time Capsule

Jason Miller’s Statement In Regards to His Flyer Box Design

My Flyer Box is a friendly entity that does not discriminate and wants to impart love to all.

In addition, to the many amazing articles that fill its pages, I am an avid reader of both The Rant on the last page and the Editor’s Note on the front page of the Memphis Flyer. The aspect of the writing in those two areas often hails in controversial subject matter and, as with nearly every page of the Flyer, hits a chord of blunt honesty that is most respectable journalism. I took the conceptualized notion of the rough blunt underlying truth and juxtaposed it with the minds of real people who regularly read the Flyer in search of the insightful observations highlighted by the extraordinary team of journalists who are the gears and intellectual muscle behind the publication.

The end product yielded by my contemplation, fused with my imagination driven artworks that touch upon subject matter reaching from pop culture to extremely personal ideas, is a Flyer Box design that I can put my stamp of unique artistry on without feeling I compromised by vision to censor my artwork for public display. I beckoned the part of myself that capably utilized restraint through editing material similar to the way a sculptor carves a material into a final hewn form. I did not hold back, but carefully infused my style into this work, while considering the requirements as key elements in the overall design.

Adorning the top of the Flyer Box is an image I created from the source material of, my mother, Mary Jane Photthast’s own check that she asked Elvis Presley to autograph outside the walls of Graceland back in the early 70’s. I placed a loupe over the autograph with careful attention to precision in placement when I photographed that special object that my mother gave to me as a gift. The generous people at Gaisman Community Center in Memphis gave me the illuminated red angel fixture that halos the signed checking slip from a bank that is no longer in business, but that once had a grand presence in Memphis, TN. My grandmother gave me many small plastic ornaments for a ceramic tree, and I then added to my collection from two thoughtful elderly women at Gaisman. I further photographed them as part of my Mural Commission for the City of Memphis, which is slated for completion July 2014.

I wanted the rest of my imagery to be derived from personal objects that I have kept since childhood that includes my teething toy that I nearly chewed in half, two paper airplanes that I made based on images of John F Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy at the moment before his assassination. Those objects and the imagery they bare is important to me because I feel, along with many others, that the Country took a dynamic turn at this point in history. I feel we would live in a different nation today had that assassination not occurred. Perhaps, it may have been a freer democracy. Additionally, I appreciate the relationship to the Kennedy paper airplanes from my object collection and the Flyer paper airplane logo design.

Conceptually and esthetically much thought went into linking the symbolism to loftier matter than the playfulness represented on the surface level, but I will refrain from “spilling all the beans” in regard to my reasoning for the arrangement of this artwork. Design-wise I will note that there is a distinct mark difference between the top portion of the left and right sides of the box where the words free and Memphis Flyer appear. This was formulated in part to contrast the hard graphic lines created by the painting and imagery evident in the underlying portions and on the entire backside of the box. There is a linkage that occurs wherein the individual is intended to be represented through independent brushstrokes (upper portion) and the system as a whole through the unifying precision placed imagery (lower portion).

I hope the Flyer Box I designed finds a welcoming corner in a Memphis neighborhood or business district where it may be seen from all sides. It is like given birth when one brings a creation into being, becomes attached to it, and then, finally, must release it to spread its own wings.

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this great City and its free publication, Memphis Flyer, which I love.

Lastly, I might add that there are few things more Memphis than an Elvis autograph and even fewer symbols related to the term “Flyer” than a pair of wings!