Using Detroit as his canvas and knowledge as his compass, Charles “Chazz” Miller is a local artist and muralist with a vision of rejuvenating Detroit by changing its visual landscape. His creativity and works of communal art aim to help change the look and morale of the city he loves.
As the founder and director of “Public Art Workz,” Miller’s mission is to beautify and uplift the city that has taught him about life. He has reinvented the facades of many blighted buildings and parks throughout some of Detroit’s hardest hit neighborhoods.
He said he has a passion to educate, motivate and elevate the minds living among him. He recruits members of the community to help complete his park wall murals and butterfly installations, and in return he finds that the community maintains these parks much better than before.
Miller has dubbed this project the “Papillon Effect” - papillon is French for butterfly.
“I thought Detroit needed a psychological readjustment,” Miller said. “I mean, when you look at a caterpillar, you would never imagine a caterpillar is going to turn into a butterfly. And when you look at Detroit, you never imagine Detroit is going to come up off its knees.”
With this vision, he said he wants to teach youths in Detroit about the power of creativity and making something out of nothing.
He is also co-founder of the Artist Village, a community art gallery, located at 17340 Lahser Road in Detroit, where he teaches community gardening and holds summer art programs. By doing this, Miller said he stays true to his beliefs that “children are our most precious works of art.” He said bringing out one’s inner creativity can empower, provide purpose and build confidence that cannot be broken.
Miller was formally trained at the Columbus College of Art and Design. His resume includes creating artwork for the 1994 World Cup Soccer Tournament, gallery exhibitions and a growing list of collectors including Fortune 500 companies.