Miles: Creative Writer, Researcher, & Historian
MUSICIAN & ARTIST HAS FIRST BOOK PUBLISHED!
Lisa! Your hard work, dedication, and creativity
have paid off with a wonderful new book for the world to enjoy!
FROM CREATIVE ARTS BOOK COMPANY:
The Life and Art of Esther Phillips
Lisa A. Miles
Original ---- 460 pages. ---- $18 ---- ISBN 088739-467-1
Ingram, Baker & Taylor,
Small Press Distribution.
story of one who produced so much art, yet left
so many questions...I couldnt stop reading!
-Brian Butko, Editor, Western Pennsylvania
together with letters, interviews, scholarly
source material, institution documents and art
this biography and unique cultural essay presents
an absorbing glimpse at what it means to be an
Rarely if ever
does the creative artist receive the recognition or the recompense
she deserves or needs. Lisa
A. Miles brings this truism to vibrant life in This Fantastic Struggle,
the biography of Esther Phillips. Woven
together with letters, interviews, scholarly source material, institution
documents and art work, this unique cultural essay presents an absorbing
glimpse at what it means to be an artist.
Born in Russia,
raised in Pittsburgh by a family that denigrated her artistic identity,
Esther left for Greenwich Village in the 1930's and never looked
back. And an artist Esther was, though it cost her deeply. Despite
early critical success, she was not able to make a living during
the Depression and was institutionalized for over six years, likely
for the results of starvation and stress. After her release, she
returned to her art and to the Village, where her struggle continued.
Eventually she lapsed into obscurity, but not before saying she
had lived a wonderful life. This Fantastic Struggle is also the
story of friendship - the kind that keeps alive both friends and
art work that would otherwise have been lost to the world.
book...both educational and provocative. [It] will arouse attention."
-Robert Henkes, author of American Women Painters of the '30s &
is the most great-hearted biographer of a cantankerous artist since
Irving Stone wrote of Van Gogh. May Swenson would have loved again
meeting her friend Esther Phillips in these pages."
-R.R. Knudson, author of The Amazing Pen of May Swenson
with aging bohemians and bountiful reproduced documents... Miles
immerses the reader in the world of Esther Phillips with an intensity
that matches her subject. I couldn't stop reading!"
-Brian Butko, editor of Western Pennsylvania History Magazine
LISA A. MILES
is a professional creative artist who writes original music, collaborating
with theatre, visual, and movement artists. A violinist based in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she has been awarded grants for her creative
work. She has published prose and poetry in Unsilenced: The Spirit
of Women (Commune-A-Key).
& Answers With The Author
With Lisa Miles
your background lead you to write This Fantastic Struggle?
Ten years ago,
I took a leap of faith and quit my 9-to-5 job as a Vocational Counselor
at a mental health agency, where I developed work leads for clients
with manic depression, personality disorders and schizophrenia.
I decided it was time to try to make a go of it with my art. I had
become fascinated at the time with the story of artist Esther Phillips,
as I researched into her life on my down time, and realized I wanted
to pursue the writing of a book. I embarked on not only that project
but began to fully pursue my other creative interests--writing original
works for cross-disciplinary performance work, creating a body of
musical works to stand on their own for solo performance, teaching
children improvisation, doing studio work both commercial and for
local bands, accompanying dance, and producing and directing conceptual
performance pieces. Though I actually did a variety of things post-college,
and before my mental health agency job (GED teacher, career counselor,
research asst. at Univ. of Pgh., library positions), none have been
as unusual or interesting as the quest to make a living as a working
creative artist. Or as fulfilling.
some of your professional & personal interests?
with artists of various genres, developing a sense of creative exploration
in children (so they see that they can find their own path creatively),
touting the call to adults to awaken to authentic sense of
self in this life, advocating for mental health concerns which
I believe touch us all at some point in our lives, and proving that
artists are workers and a viable part of this society. Personal
interests include playing in underground bands, and fascination
with old houses like my own sitting atop a hill since 1891 and providing
a view of the bustling cityscape & three rivers, with lovely
backyard terraced sanctuary.
unusual in the research & writing of your book?
In the finding
of content matter, nothing was ordinary! Everything an intriguing
exploration, a real find---as I could talk much more about. . .
One technical point to mention, though, is that the first computer
draft of my manuscript was on an Apple II (this was already 1995!)
My generous younger brother did my next two computer upgrades for
me from company hand-me-downs---first an Apple Performa and now
a Power Mac. Along the way, I actually (barely) learned Netscape
Composer and I no longer have to go into the Carnegie Library to
get on the internet.
To learn more about Lisa Miles, Visit:
Music: By Lisa Miles, Erin Snyder, & Mike Marcinko
CD features original music composed and performed by Lisa Miles,
with the contributions of co-composers and performers:
Erin Snyder and Mike Marcinko.
on CD cover below for enlargement.
the Lisa Miles CD titled "Original Music"
on the song title to download mp3 file.
a'Deux 9.23 MB
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Miles is a professional violinist based in Pittsburgh who creates
original music, collaborating with theatre, film, visual, literary
and movement artists. She accompanies dance at Dance Alloy and teaches
improv to young instrumentalists.
She was awarded
grants from The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, Meet
The Composer, and the PA Arts & Humanities Initiative for a
cross-disciplinary collaborative piece that she directed and produced.
Entitled Presence, it incorporates media/visuals, movement and her
music, and is about the search for authentic sense of self.
Contact Lisa Miles:
Phone: 412-231-5055, or
Fantastic Struggle: The Life and Art of Esther Phillips |
Purchase This Book
About The Book | Reviews
| Bio1 | Author
Appearances In Pittsburgh
Q & A With The Author | Original
Music: Download Free MP3s | Bio2