Robbie Miller takes on reality TV

Robbie Miller is a mixed-media artist and Fullerton College art instructor who says he is obsessed with the factious world, especially “the clean, plastic, and crisp” Orange County.

“My favorite thing about Orange County is how it looks like a golf course,” said Miller. “Everything is in its perfect place.”

Miller currently resides in Huntington Beach and is a former resident of Evanston, Illinois, a small suburb north of Chicago.

“It seems absurd how in the city of Irvine you can paint your house only three different colors,” Miller said. “And they’re all shades of brown.”

Miller tells a story about a yellow fire hydrant – while out one day, he saw construction that blocked one off.

“Apparently the city paid to paint all the hydrants again,” Miller said. “The hydrant was in good condition, and it was going to get dirty. Yet some council somewhere commissioned that the hydrants all needed a fresh coat.”

FC instructor Marciano Martinez gives insight to Miller’s work.

“He is a dynamic and eloquent story teller,” said Martinez. “And most of all, he has a great sense of humor.”

Miller says that the fake images of reality television inspired his comical photo series, “What I Would Wear If.”

It is on display at the California Museum of Photography as a part of the exhibit “Trans-personae,” Latin for “our masks make us.”

“I was watching the reality show Deal or No Deal for about a week,” Miller said. “I noticed that all the contestants’ wardrobes aren’t even themselves. There are about four colors they use and they’re always the same.”

The whole series is comprised of self-portraits, taken over a period of one month.

“I am my own best model,” Miller said. “I’m always around.”

Miller scheduled the whole month into different hair grooming schemes, ranging from long hair and beard for “Survivor,” to the clean-shaven “men’s regular” for “Wheel of Fortune.”

Miller’s strongest single piece is “Wheel of Fortune.” Not only is it compositionally strong but it also divulges a portrait of a perfectly arranged scene.

Miller’s diagonally striped tie, the sunny Venetian blinds, and the many striped placemats present a striking image.

In addition to his “What I Would Wear If” series, he also has videos on display of former performances.

“I love performance art,” Miller said. “One time I shipped myself to Mexico in a crate and … painted three pictures. They were really crummy pictures, but the story was more interesting.”

Miller finds inspiration in controversial artists such as Andrew Serrano, photographer of “Piss Christ,” a urine-submerged crucifix, or Charles Ray, famous for his anatomically correct mannequins.

“I like the story behind the images,” Miller said. “The image can’t always get the whole picture.”