Published: Aug 22, 2006 11:29 AM
Modified: Aug 22, 2006 11:29 AM
Living in Cary for nearly 50 years, local artist Jerry Miller has seen a lot of change.
So when the Lazy Daze committee members asked him to draw the poster for this year’s 30th anniversary of the festival, it was only natural that the piece should reflect the passage of time.
Miller’s poster shows two scenes of Cary — one from 29 years ago, when he was one of the founders of the Lazy Daze festival, and one from today.
But, while much of Cary has gone from farmland to subdivisions in the blink of an eye, Miller says that downtown looks pretty much the same as it did during the very first Lazy Daze.
“The buildings haven’t really changed much,” he said.
“The people!” he said. “It’s just the amount of people that are now living and coming through Cary all the time.”
Miller has been drawing pictures of Cary almost as long as he’s been living here. Trained as a residential architect, he has been working as a full-time artist since the 1970s, selling his pieces at art shows across the country and, more recently, over the Internet.
His intricately detailed ink drawings capture scenes from all over North Carolina — college bell towers, small town “Main Streets,” Outer Banks lighthouses. He provided the images for the local history book “Around and About Cary,” first published in 1970, which begat a flood of requests from towns in North Carolina that wanted Miller to capture their local architecture with the same careful hand.
Miller, 74, has been drawing since he was a schoolboy in Sanford. When he left architecture to pursue art full time, he got publicity by going to art shows all over the country.
“At times I have gone to as many as 35 a year,” he said.
He and his wife Jean would frame and mat his prints by hand at home, sometimes as many as 200 a week. “You can’t even imagine how many pictures we’ve produced,” he said.
Thanks to the Internet, Miller no longer has to run around the country to sell pieces. He enjoys golfing and spending time with his three children, Julie, Jill and Jay, and his two young granddaughters.
He does most of his work in the evening, listening to music while he sketches well into the night.
“I like to listen to golden oldies, fifties and sixties,” he said. “The seventies is a little too wild, too jumpy. I like it a little bit smoother when I draw.”
His drawings of North Carolina college campuses are among the most popular sellers in his stable of prints, along with beach scenes and pictures of historic buildings.
His Cary prints are perennial favorites too, he said, and his love for capturing the town made him a natural choice to commemorate Lazy Daze’s 30th anniversary.
After all these years of attending the festival, Miller still enjoys taking in the sights and meeting new people.
“It’s a neat little place, downtown,” he said. “They got lots of beautiful trees and such.”
See more of Jerry Miller’s work at www.jerrymillerart.com
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