Local Artist Views His Work as an 'Artistic Exorcism'

A painting of a black and red figure touching a plant before a blue, sunny sky.
Eric Hupahu Cikala Miller's work will stay in your mind long after you've seen it.

Every so often, we come across artists whose work is so powerful their images stay in our minds long after we’ve seen them. Eric Hupahu Cikala Miller is such an artist. Miller says he’s been making art as long as he can remember. “I’m mainly self-taught. I took art classes in high school and I always connected with my art teachers,” he says. Two artists that have influenced him are Frida Kahlo and Vincent van Gogh.

Miller views art as a therapeutic process. “I live with anxiety and it’s very much affected my life. Growing up as a queer person, I never felt I got the support I needed, and it caused trauma. Art can be a way to process emotions,” he says.

Eric Hupahu Cikala MillerPhoto by Tate Carlson

Miller is in recovery from alcoholism and art has been helped him along the way, he says. In April, he celebrated five years of sobriety.

Acrylics are Miller’s preferred medium. “I like acrylics because I get instant gratification. With acrylics, if I have something in mind I can express it right away. It’s almost like an artistic exorcism,” he says.

Miller is looking forward to working more in sculpture. His sculpture Heart was displayed at Century College’s first Art Day student exhibition.
He is currently working on a degree in ethnobotany at the University of Minnesota, which is a combination of Native American studies and horticulture. He hopes to have solo shows in the near future, and we can’t wait to see them.