JD Miller thinks a lot about the way life bounces around. Perhaps that’s expected for an artist who founded a discipline called Reflectionism. “It’s based on the law of attraction,” he says to describe the movement. “We put out the best energy possible and capture what’s reflected back from the universe.”
Now 63, he came to fine art in mid-career, after stints as a professional musician and then a jingle writer and executive for CBS Radio. You can still hear his jingle “McShan Florist, for Your Expressions of Love.” It was a circuitous path, but he never gave up the idea that he could paint for a living.
“I feel really fortunate,” says Miller, the co-founder of Samuel Lynne Galleries, now in its 10th year. “Art can be a very challenging way to make a living. It is extremely competitive because so many people want to do it. Therefore, in order to succeed, you have to believe in what you are doing and be relentless. For me, it’s like breathing. It’s not really a choice; it’s something I have to do no matter what.” It’s that reflection thing: capturing what comes back from the universe, no matter how long it takes.
Today, Samuel Lynne Galleries represents a select group of artists, including Miller and fellow Reflectionists Philip J. Romano and Miller’s wife, Lea Fisher, photographers David Yarrow and Tyler Shields, sculptors Hans Van de Bovenkamp and John Henry, and pop artist James Gill. The gallery is located in an 11,000-square-foot state-of-theart facility on Dragon Street.
The way Miller sees it, the game-changing moment for the gallery came before it even opened. At the time, his first gallery was near Nick & Sam’s, which was owned by Romano. The two met by chance, and Romano embraced the Reflectionist philosophy. “Deciding to partner with Philip and build the gallery allowed me, as an artist, owner and promoter, to take my business to the next level,” Miller says.
Reflectionism is about more than just visual art; it can apply to any creative discipline. But in the context of painting, what distinguishes it is the use of 3-D oil paints. “We are using 3-D oils to reflect the multidimensional world in which we live,” he notes.
Miller estimates that he has mentored about a dozen professional artists in the Reflectionist philosophy. The idea of merging positive energy and the use of 3-D oil seems to be spreading virally as more and more painters are incorporating the techniques Miller developed. Miller credits their Dragon Street location for contributing to Samuel Lynne’s success. “When you think about Canyon Road in Santa Fe, there’s gallery after gallery all in the same place. We’re finally getting something like that here in Dallas. If you’re looking for fine art, there are all kinds of amazing galleries in the heart of the Design District.”
The career, the gallery, the evolution—Miller describes his life as well as his art as truly Reflectionist. “It’s the best of all worlds,” he says. “I wake up every day grateful to be given the opportunity to achieve a certain level of success so that I can truly pursue my vision.”
One fine reflection, indeed.
Connie Dufner is a Dallas-based freelance journalist who writes about interiors for local and national publications.