Joshua Millis

Photo of Joshua Millis

Visiting Assistant Professor Art and Design Education 718.687.5951 p Brooklyn Campus, South Hall 206

Personal URL


MFA 2004 - The School of The Art Institute of Chicago
BFA, Art History Minor 2001 - Tyler School of Art
1998-1999 - Temple-Rome Program


Rural Pennsylvania, 1983. Out of nowhere, the movies Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2 Electric Boogaloo landed on my TV. For the next couple of years, you could find me on a flattened cardboard box in my backyard or living room, spinning on my head or back. Parachute pants, neon Chucks treated with bleach, and bandanas around all my limbs. balance, form, (a)symmetry, color, reflection, pop. After that, I became a ninja. For almost 4 years, you could find me (no, actually – you wouldn’t have been able to find me!) in a treetop or on a neighbor’s roof, in my ninja outfit that my mom helped me tailor on her sewing machine. I made many of my own weapons with bamboo, elastic, and other found objects. I cleared my bedroom of everything and slept on the floor for more than a year. craft, close observation, minimalism, multimedia, identity, perspective. And when ninjas retire, they become hockey players - a passion that I still indulge today. rhythm, collaboration, foreground, middle-ground, and background, structured improvisation, persistence, narrative. For a long time, I thought I had come to art late, because it wasn’t until college that I took my first traditional art classes. Before the age of 19, I had positively no concept of what it meant to be an artist. I could not name one, and could not even approach a conversation about “art.” In fact, art never really crossed my mind. As an artist who works extensively with kids, I’ve come to realize that I had been an artist all along. Those childhood pursuits weren’t that different from the work that evolves in my studio today. The principles and habits of mind have not changed. In fact, those obsessions have inspired much of what I’ve created as a “practicing artist.” The negotiations with gravity and sense of movement in tight quarters, underlies much of my representational approach. It’s funny to think of the seeds that are planted, not only in childhood, but all throughout one’s life. Thinking about the interconnectedness of a life’s experiences can be overwhelming – enough to make my head spin – on cardboard of course. I grew up in Pennsylvania and studied art and art history at Tyler School of Art, including the Temple-Rome Program, and earned an MFA at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. i moved to New York in 2005, and has exhibited there, as well as in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and abroad. When I’m not making art in my Brooklyn studio, I teach at Pratt Institute, Studio In A School, and have taught for the Queens Museum, NYPL, and beyond. Currently, I am developing Artist In (Your) Residence – a unique opportunity for art-lovers to host an artist for the day, and watch as an original portrait series of their home is created. To see and learn more, visit my websites at and