I was born December 4, 1946, in Brooklyn, NY. As a child I remember always being busy drawing or wanting to make things. My mother has told me stories of when I was in elementary school my pictures were hanging all around the classroom. I don't remember that, but I do remember drawing pictures for homework assignments and reports. The three below are probably from the second grade..
In 1973 I took a job at a private mental health facility on Long Island as an art teacher/therapist. I coordinated the art program in this school for all ages and taught in the rehab division with children from 14 to 22 years of age. I started my Masters degree at that time in Hofstra University taking art, psychology and education courses. After three years I got a bit burnt out because of the difficulty of the population I worked with. They were very severely disturbed and most were bused in from hospitals like Pilgrim State and Creedmore everyday. I decided to leave and start my own business as a leather craftsman.

My leather business, which started in 1976, became my sole source of income for the next 15 years. The leather work continued for 25 years. I went back to SUNY New Paltz in 1988 to complete my Masters degree in art education. I have worked since 1990 as a substitute teacher and sometimes have had long term positions teaching art or technology. My goal is to have a full time art teaching position. I have spent the past few years honing my skills with a computer and learning programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and Dreamweaver, which I used to build this website.

The feeling I got as a child and still get as an adult when I create art or music is like breath itself. I feel I have to create. It makes me and has always made me feel very centered and ultimately blissful. Sometimes the creative journey is bumpy, dark or painful but ultimately there is joy in the end.

If anybody surfing through my website enjoys my work and would like to utilize my talents, buy leather goods or would just like to let me know what your thoughts or feelings are, you can reach me at barrysmi@barrysmiller.com

In JHS I took as many art classes as I could. I drew some pictures that were included in the school yearbook, Shallow Bugle. I also sang in the school choir. It was great fun. I went to New Utrecht High School and graduated in June 1964. I remember high school being a wonderful time. I took art classes, played guitar and sang in rock and roll bands that played school dances, sweet sixteen parties and college fraternity parties. I learned to dance tap, ballet and modern jazz for a school performance put on every year called "SING." I designed the senior year school button. I was elected president of the General Organization which was the governing board of the student body. We experienced the assination of JFK and the Beatles appeared. It was a very interesting time to be a teenager. The world was changing exponentially. There was so much going on and so much information to soak up. Integration, new music, art and Muhammad Ali.

I went to Parsons School of Design in NYC as a graphic design major. Art school was a real eye and head opener. I learned new concepts to understand and live life with. My art teachers were hip, aware, stimulating and inspiring. It was a complete change from my life in Brooklyn. Sometimes a bit scary because I was not brought up to think or approach life from the perspective of a creative individual. I took a great liking to photography in my freshman year and it became my elective. I solved many assigment problems with photographs. Alphabet World was a book I did as a senior project that was published in 1971 by MacMillian. I took a great liking to "process art," art that goes through a process like silk-screening, photography and etching. I enjoy the different steps to get to the end product.

After graduating from Parsons in 1967, I went to work in advertising and design studios, designing ads, posters, brochures, commercials and doing mechanicals and paste-ups. I was never completely content back then with the ad business so I continued to go to school at the New School, which is affiliated with Parsons. I recieved my BFA in the winter of 1971. My focus was to change careers and become an art teacher. I took education courses at Brooklyn College and became certified in the city of New York as an art teacher.

The following two photographs were originally in black and white and were taken by a good friend at the time who was a student at Visual Arts. They were probably taken about 1967-68. These are the only digitally altered pictures on my website right now. I "hand colored" them with Photoshop. I've always felt these two pictures best represent who I am.