Colette Miller is an American visual artist and performer from Richmond, Virginia. She currently lives in Los Angeles. Miller is best known as a performer in the heavy metal band Gwar during its formative years between 1986-1987 and for her fine and street art "Global Angel Wings Project." Starting in 2012 to lift the spirits of people on the streets, Miller has created and installed angel wings in countries ranging from Kenya to Mexico to Cuba to France to Australia, earning her international and critical renown. In 2015, an image of a soldier walking in front of the artist's wings in Juarez, Mexico was featured in Reuters and BBC News as the international photograph of the day.
Miller's mother grew up in Holland and Indonesia and her father in the United States. As a result, the artist has always been globally aware and engaged in international dialogues.
While Miller was studying fine art at Virginia Commonwealth University, a group of local art students formed the now infamous punk metal band Gwar, shortly after which Miller became a member. The economic climate of the Reagan administration was starting to instill rebellion in the younger arts community and Gwar was a byproduct of that time. Between 1986 and 1987, Miller performed in the band under the names "Gwar Girl" and "Amazina." This character she developed was an empowered female warrior unlike the sexualized woman stereotype that was prevalent during the 1980s.
At the time, the formative band members were living in an old dairy plant that had been converted into lofts and artists studios which they called "The Milk Bottle". It was, as Miller describes, "a huge castle brimming with creative energy."
During her time performing with Gwar, Miller participated in several iconic skits, including: creating a giant RAID can to exterminate the only surviving creature from the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the USSR: a giant cockroach; a commercial for Gwar cereal; and an ironic installation featured around an oversized pair of Adolf Hitler's underwear.
The Global Angel Wings Project (2012-ongoing)
Miller moved to Los Angeles in 1999 and began her Global Angel Wings Project in 2012 to "remind humanity that we are the angels on this Earth." One day she was depressed and stuck in gridlock freeway traffic and began to imagine how much better the sterile buildings around her would be with angel wings on them. The idea behind the wings wasn’t specifically because she was living in Los Angeles, nicknamed the City of Angels, but was more about creating something uplifting for humanity as a whole.
Miller selects neighborhoods throughout the world that need some moral uplifting since, as she explains, "the image of wings as enlightenment, hope, freedom, purity, and flight would be a good thing people to see and be a part of."
Miller installs her wings at eye-level, encouraging viewers to interact with the design and step in between them. This has launched an outpouring on social media with people taking photographs of themselves in various poses as the angel in between her wings. Miller has been included in lists of "The Most Instagram-Worthy Spots in L.A." on BuzzFeed and Los Angeles Magazine, among others. Colette Miller has over 600,000 instagram images [cite needed]
In 2015, Miller delivered a TEDx Talk entitled "Are We the Angels of the Earth?" in Culver City, California.