Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique  discovering  thesis and processes behind the work.








Conversation between Jeffrey Millett and Olivia Ramos.


Jeffrey Millett

Untitled, 2016

30 x 24 in.

Inc on Canvas


RAMOS:  ‪thank you for joining me Jeff


I am fascinated by the rigor you put into this coming election - or perhaps it is not just about this election


so i'd like to know a little more about your intention with this series


i am guessing it started with the dot and say that because it is the most abstract and least technical




MILLETT: great to be's been bit‬‬


so, the series really started as just an intuitive reaction to two things - the political and a microcosm of that - this particular election


its really a territory of knowledge that i had not really engaged in before the 2016 presidential campaign


‪it started with the dots, which plot the history of each presidential election by each state, blue being democrat, republican red‬‬


and evolved from there


what did you learn from the dots series?


i loved, for example, the year it was all one color - what president was that?




i've learned a lot..the dots are order alphabetically, so i began to see the partisanship of the states, yet also there evolution over time as the demographics of the country have changed


‪its kinda amazing, in my opinion, that something relative simple can produce so much content and complexity as you investigate more and more‬‬


ha i think you are referring to two elections - Nixon in 72' and Reagan in 84' where they crushed


there opponents only won one state each


‪right - that's so crazy‬‬


and beautiful


the idea that the whole country was united


‪its telling too, a direct reflection of the climate of the country‬‬




‪also a fun tangent - the representation is not always so truthful‬‬


‪how do you mean?‬‬


‪the 1960' election between Kennedy and Nixon is the closest ever, yet you would not know it strictly by the dot representation


Kennedy won the popular vote by something crazy - like .1% and two state swung the election in his favor, Indiana and Texas


also, the Bush-Gore 2000, with Florida


that led me into the 'Swing State' series, the bigger line pieces





gotcha - so the line pieces are a more detail version as opposed to a stretch out dot?‬‬


‪yes the crazy thing is now with data mining, polling etc the election is really about 9 states give or take


we can keep zooming to the demographic county of voter makeup


it gets really wonky


but i was fascinated at the depth of analysis


so the three larger horizontal line pieces are the 3 swing state most experts agree can/will determine this election, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania


does that mean, that most states vote for a party instead of a person?‬‬


and then a handful are the inverse


"swing states"


yes historically thats right on‬‬


although Trump has changed that in some states


the interest in the swing states are they are a more realistic representation of the demographic makeup of the country


and where it's headed


not sure what you mean with your last statement‬‬


how is it a more realistic representation?'


these states have diverse demographics due to immigration factors, esp Florida and Pennsylvania


meaning they are a microcosm for the future demographic makeup of the country as whole over time


of course things could always change and i'm definitely no expert


are you suggesting that the entire united states will be a giant metropolis?‬‬


‪that every state will be as diverse as the "Swing States"‬‬


that's a bit optimistic


‪ha i mean i don't think that will happen, but what is happening is the country demographics are changing rapidly‬‬


state demographic makeup will depend on opportunity, jobs, etc and some seizing that opportunity for growth‬‬


‪how closely connected are those opportunities with the president?‬‬


great question‬‬


im not sure i really have that answer


you have opinions‬‬


‪obviously we have two very different approaches to that‬‬


‪you mean top down or ground up?‬‬


sure i mean i really think this election is something similar to Brexit‬‬

a referendum on globalization


‪for me i don't know if its a top down-bottom up thing‬‬


a referendum on globalization - do you mean if Trump wins it is just like Brexit getting past?‬‬


and if Hillary wins, it is about focusing on leading the world?


yes i mean thats a good summary‬‬


‪it seems citizens are making a choice..and globalization was/is is the freedom of movement of goods & people (immigration)‬‬


we could say in the big picture of things Trump & Brexit reject that


*goods = finance, commodities, etc.


‪as citizens, are we voting for what is best for the country or what is best for the world?‬‬


‪this is an amazing question and i could go on forever on this..ill try to keep it simple‬‬


are we citizens of the world or of a country? in my opinion citizens now are scared of the unknown - the unknown that is coming is a border less world through the digitization‬‬


the world is less and less about place


‪*and since citizens fear the unknown, they rely on history and the comfort of the past to guide them to a future


this type of thinking is dated


but i get it


and i think now education is such a tremendous necessity for a productive future for all citizens, no matter what country


because people are scared and Trump plays on such fear


‪education is an entirely different (although super relevant) subject


more and more, conventional education is becoming obsolete, also thanks to the Internet and available resources and also thanks to how expensive it is.... but as it relates to your point, you mean education as awareness right?‬‬




people need knowledge to make informed decisions


and in this subject of globalization - what knowledge is there that would diminish the allergic reaction we have to open borders and spending resources on foreign affairs - of which we know very little, especially as to the intentions behind it and who truly benefits‬‬


‪of course i mean this not black and white and is super gray


‪but for me this requires transparency and i believe (maybe naively) that technology & digitization brings us closer to real accountability‬‬


for all parties - from government to multinationals to citizens


‪right - that is a bit optimistic - it is just like saying "communism can work if people weren't self-centered, selfish, and lazy"‬‬


but beyond that - no Internet will reveal true intentions - allow me to take a harsher perspective


we have Trump - a real estate developer - has spread his buildings all over the country - but there is enough room for growth... enough for his lifetime

so there is no reason to focus on anywhere but here - business wise, this is good enough


now Clinton... for her values and her income, the US is simply too small - so much to be had out there... so let's expand ties, let's build that pipeline worldwide‬‬


does that makes sense?


granted, i have no idea what Clinton's business is really about - i am assuming it is no brick and mortar


i'd say it like this..‬‬


reminder, no system is perfect nor can satisfy all parties involve




Clinton is to build on an existing infrastructure - global capital that obviously needs to be tweaked


Trump is offering to tear the existing down, pack up and go home


‪i get that - i'm looking at motives‬‬




at the end of the day - it is a personal gain


one way or another


my question is


is it really ever about what is good for the world?


‪thats fair even cynical no?‬‬


‪i think it's sadly obvious‬‬


understood, i think this election comes down to the lesser evil‬‬


i do not think for a second politicians in general are motivated by the collective betterment


but as citizens we have choice, and those choices need to be informed is all


the only information i know is that my choices are about who will I help become richer‬‬


‪and between the two evils... i am either helping Trump make a "better" country so that there are more Trump Towers everywhere I go - or - helping Clinton exhaust this relatively small global community to expands her tentacles around the world‬‬


umm yep‬‬


amazing how personal politics gets its amazing


‪it's not politics if it's personal‬‬


and that's what's so frustrating i guess


disagree - your personal opinion shapes your political decision‬‬


as you just said in the above statement


what i mean is - if the "politicians" are all about their personal gain, it is no longer politics‬‬


sure i mean thats one opinion of many‬‬


but citizens need to take responsibility for that as well


these people are put in this position


the consequences of that are what we see this year