LITTLETON, Colo. (KDVR) — An Afghanistan combat veteran who used a video camera as part of his job overseas now is using colored pencils to create images of beauty back home.
When Paul Miller was growing up, his father said something that stuck with him and would eventually affect the rest of his life.
“If you’re going to be a bear,” he said, “be a grizzly.”
Miller joined the United States Marine Corps and became a combat photographer.
“This is my Combat V that I got for valor for actions I did over there, knocking on doors, looking through everything, just a typical day in Afghanistan,” said Miller.
But once a Marine, always a Marine. And Miller thinks about the challenges a combat veteran faces back home every day.
“You walk into a restaurant, take your girlfriend out, your wife out to dinner and you are thinking about, ‘Well, where are the exits?'” said Miller.
Miller faces those challenges as well but has found a source of strength in his art.
“It’s more of a therapeutic thing. You are watching yourself you don’t really think about whether you could put this here or there, you tap into your feelings,” said Miller.
He calls his art hyper-realistic pencil drawings, but they look like anything but a drawing made from a pencil. They are visually stunning.
Miller reaches out to veterans with his art to help them connect with the now.
“These portraits are my purpose. It makes me fulfilled. And it really turns into a conversation about what is their purpose,” said Miller.
And a conversation is a great place to start.