Darrin Miller (1966)
Markesan, WI, 53946, United States
2012 to present
The sculptures are viewable in the yard behind Miller's home which is adjacent to a BP station on Highway 73 west of Markesan. To note: Miller does not like to be approached by strangers.
About the Artist/Site
Darrin Miller creates large, three-dimensional sculptures of cartoon characters on his family’s farm in the small, rural Wisconsin town of Markesan, an hour and a half northwest of Milwaukee. Miller’s colorful constructions are semi-viewable from the road, resulting in an impromptu visit from researcher and photographer Gregg Blasdel as well as Youtuber Michael Jiroch whose video of the site is embedded below. When Jiroch visited in 2014, the artist recounted that he had only started creating artwork in 2012. His enormous sculptures–some appearing to be at least twenty feet tall–are installed in a grove of trees adjacent to the house. Miller finds inspiration in favorite cartoons like Robin Hood, Pinocchio, and other Disney characters. The boxy wooden sculptures are painted in bright colors and then tied to a tree for support. Left outside to deteriorate, when the sculptures eventually fall off their supporting tree, the materials are gathered and burned.
When Blasdel visited the site in 2018, Miller was in his mid-fifties and had stopped creating artwork as he had been enrolled in a work program for people with disabilities. Miller suffered from spinal meningitis as a baby and is intellectually disabled due to complications from the illness.
Update, August 2021: Darrin Miller is back to work creating sculptures, and his large yard is filled with new work. It appears that the smaller sculptures are created as discrete pieces, and when they begin to deteriorate, they are roped to tree trunks to create large assemblages.
wood, paint, rope
While driving bucolic rural Wisconsin with my friend Joe and his lovely wife Beth, we came across a flash of color coming out of a wooded area...
Map & Site Information
Markesan, WI, 53946 us
Latitude/Longitude: 43.7072047 / -88.9901122
North Freedom, WI