By Rachel Tuggle
STEPHENVILLE (Aug 3, 2015) — Son of Stephenville residents Dori and Tim Wells, Miller is anything but the average graduate. Around town, he is known for his art and haunting the local Starbucks. Many people, however, do not know that he is fluent, or almost fluent, in several languages, loves cooking and enjoys learning about new topics all of the time.
“That’s one of the things everyone teases me about is that I am not in school, but I study way more than kids that are in school, and I’ve actually had to help kids that are in college classes with things when I’m studying them,” Wells said.
In high school, Wells began teaching himself Greek and was almost fluent when he began taking Spanish classes at SHS. Once in Spanish, he quickly mastered the language under the direction of Shelly Saunders and with the help of a study abroad trip to Spain in the summer of 2013. In addition to these two languages, Wells has taught himself French, Italian, and a bit of Russian. His goal is to ultimately learn at least ten different languages.
“I study as many as I can,” Wells said. “I watch videos and lectures and lessons about things in foreign languages. I even like learning foreign languages in foreign languages, like I was learning Italian in Spanish.”
“Before Miller came to my class, he already had an affinity for learning languages from studying Greek. He was a great student because he was motivated and making every attempt to speak Spanish outside of the classroom,” Saunders said.
Besides teaching himself foreign languages, Wells studies psychology, history, and religious studies. He said, “I’m constantly buying books on things and reading and learning. I just want to have as many different opportunities to do things in my life as I possibly can.”
Wells is eager to share his knowledge with others. While still in high school, Wells taught English as a second language in the evenings to an adult class at First Baptist Church and student taught art classes at Henderson Junior High. This past year, Wells volunteered a few times a week to teach a new student at the high school who had just moved to America from Columbia. He also teaches art classes and helps with art camps at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council.
Wells has worked and volunteered at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council for the past five years. “My official title is administrative assistant I guess,” he said. “I don’t have a specific title. There’s three of us that work up there and we are in charge of doing everything. So it’s not like I just answer phones or just do this. I do everything from taking out the trash to helping with the events we do and meeting the people that are the artists or people here in town that help us with things.”
But, Wells’ main focus these days is on his art. Thus far, he has sold his art through three different exhibits- two at the CTFAC and one at Tarleton. In his first exhibit, Wells was the featured artist of the joint exhibit and the two other exhibits solely displayed his art.
Wells has been drawing and painting for as long as he can remember. “I don’t remember ever not drawing. So I’ve been doing that ever since I can remember. Whenever I was really little I would get in trouble because I was like three, and I would start coloring in a coloring book and, if I got out of the lines, I would get mad and start crying.”
As far as Wells’ art education goes, it has been limited to what was taught in public schools and a few art camps. “I’ve never been trained learned how to do painting or drawing or any of that from artists except for just doing what feels natural for me to do,” he said. “It’s always been something that I loved doing, and it’s always been something that has been easy for me to do. Honestly, I’ve never really had to work at it or like study it, And I really like learning lots of different things and doing lots of different things. It’s the first thing that I’ve been able to do that I don’t have to study.”
Wells primarily is known for his paintings, pen and ink sketches, pencil sketches, and typography pieces. Typography is the art of making written words look more visually appealing. Wells paints with oils, watercolors, acrylics, and coffee, which is similar to watercolor but the paint is made with partially evaporated coffee.
“Sometimes I go through phases,” he said. “I’ll be hooked on doing oil paintings and I’ll do several oil paintings. One day, I won’t have my oils with me so I’ll start sketching with a pencil and I’ll just become kind of re-obsessed with doing pencil sketches. So I’ll do several pencil sketches and stop working with oils. I’ll pick up a pen one day because I don’t have a pencil and then it’s just stuff like that. It comes in phases and just repeats itself over and over. I go through phases where I won’t paint for a few months or I don’t do anything for a few months and then after a few months I’ll just come out with a bunch of things. Or I won’t paint for a few months and then I’ll come out with one piece and I’ll still not paint for another few months.”
Wells finds inspiration for his art everywhere. “Sometimes I’ll be just sitting there and it’ll just come out of boredom,” he said. “I’m constantly thinking. Even when I’m talking to someone and having a full 100% focused conversation, my mind is still thinking on, you know, a certain piece of artwork or, while I’m talking to them, I’ll focus on how the light is on them and how I would mix paints or colors to get that exact color or how to make it fade the same way it’s projecting onto them. So I would struggle a lot with that in school. Like in math class especially, because I didn’t like math class that much, I would stop focusing on what was being said and I would start focusing on different colors and the way the Smart board was projecting on the face and different things like that.”
While Wells is not planning on making art his career, he is open to the possibility. He chose not to study at Tarleton last year because he plans on attending college in Europe in the near future.
“My main goals are to constantly travel and live different places as much as I can,” Wells said. “I don’t know necessarily what I want to do professionally because that will depend on what I find in college to study and which ones I like studying most. But I would probably end up being a teacher of some sort. I really like teaching so I’ll probably do something teaching wise at a university and then once I get old enough maybe retire. I want to have some sort of small little business like a chocolate, coffee and wine shop with art somewhere, some small little, quaint thing like that would be nice just to relax and enjoy.”
Wells also sells his art on his Facebook page Miller’s Art. Contact him through Facebook if interested in his pieces.