Miles Frode

Street artist Miles Frode says he finds inspiration in everyday life, and since moving to Ashland two years ago to be closer to his family, he's found a place where both he and his art fit happily.

"There is something about Ashland and living the way I do, sort of freestyle, I just know I'm in the right place," he says. "It's like when you have a play list and the song that comes on is exactly the right one for that very moment. Ashland is the right song for me."

In addition to finding artistic inspiration in the landscape and people of Ashland, 26-year-old Frode has incorporated the Daily Tidings in his work, creating mixed-media collages and poems from various articles in the paper. Frode says he's likely to follow his instincts or an idea rather than a fixed plan. Though he often sleeps at his parents' house, he says he is between homes, traveling around the area, occasionally staying with friends, and devoting his energy and passion to his paintings, collages and music. Frode largely sells his work on the streets, but his art also can be seen this month at Grilla Bites on the Plaza.

DT: How did you come to be an artist?

MF: I love art. It's the clearest reflection for me of my relationship with the source of everything. Nothing I ever create is truly mine; I'm just blessed to be some kind of conduit. I've been interested in art since I was 2 years old. I am always studying art. I've taken a few formal classes at various schools, and though my mom has been an art teacher and is a successful artist, I consider myself mostly self-taught.

DT: What do you want people to experience when they see your work?

MF: I hope they will just feel something. Maybe confused, amazed, inspired.

DT: What or who inspires your work?

MF: Everything and everyone. This town is great for artists. I love Ashland because it is very open to living naturally and the people are open to new ideas. I want my art to make people think.

DT: What advice would you give another artist who is just starting out?

MF: Maybe not to be so focused on what you think you should see. If you judge, you might miss out on what you could see.

DT: Art is often considered a luxury. What motivates you to keep working?

MF: Art is the most important thing in life. It reflects our places in history and society. For me it has never been about money. I know with every fiber of my being that I am a very successful human, representing openly and clearly my ability to see life and show myself in it through my art. People's acceptance and response to art is motivating.

DT: What do you find most challenging as an artist?

MF: I think being seen as a serious artist is most challenging.

DT: Where can people see your work?

MF: My work is at Grilla Bites in April. I have as many art shows as I can around the Ashland area. I also sell my work on the street. I'll find a spot downtown and set up on a storefront that is not open yet. I'll be out there a couple hours a day.

DT: Are most people open to buying art on the street?

MF: It is easier to sell art on the street. In fact, while I was vagabonding in Petaluma, Calif., I realized I needed money to get home to Ashland, so I just set out some art, sold it and made enough to get home.

DT: Do you have a traditional job outside of your art work?

MF: Not anymore, though I probably could use one.

DT: What do you do for fun when you are not painting?

MF: I self-publish poetry-art-collage magazines. I am also a freestyle (hip-hop) artist working with my friend Andy Cook on my newest music project "Wordzilla."

DT: Are there other artists in your family?

MF: My mom, Diane Ericson, who has a studio at the Ashland Art Center, is also a very inspiring artist. She makes laser-cut stencils, does creativity workshops and paints. My grandma Lois Ericson is also an amazing artist. My other grandma, June Frode, painted oils, and when she passed away I got her brushes, which I use to this day.

Angela Decker is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach her at

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