The Nightly Grind (
The Nightly Grind by Heather Miller

Title: The Nightly Grind
No longer available
Year: 2008
Size: approx. 10″

The Nightly Grind was created using grinding wheels, washers, embellishments, and spray paint.

The Story:

I’m writing this story in 2016, the piece was created in 2008 so I’ll do my best to remember.

This piece was originally called The Daily Grind.  Yes, there is another piece called The Daily Grind which sold.  To understand why there are two almost identical pieces, I have to start at the beginning of my career as an artist.  I decided to go back to college in 2008, to study digital art.  It became clear really quickly that I was going to be creating a lot of non-digital work.  A great many years ago, I did little sculptures and other art but I never took it seriously.  By the time I got to art school I hadn’t created any physical art in a long, long time.  When I realized I was going to be creating a lot of physical art, I decided to throw myself into it.  This also meant I would try to figure out the art world.  Step 1 was to submit work to shows.

About the same time that I decided to try to exhibit art, the art department hired a new guidance councilor.  Since she was new, and young, she was all full of ideas and enthusiasm (they killed that off in her pretty quick).  She posted all kinds of helpful information, like the ins & outs of submitting to art shows.  One post stands out in my mind because it was why I submitted to my first show.  The author wrote that you just have to keep submitting to show after show after show, no matter how many times you get rejected.  She estimated she had been rejected 50 times before she got into her first show.  I assumed it would take a long time to find 50 shows to submit to so I may as well get started.

I have no idea what really prompted the creation of this piece.  I was wandering The Home Depot one day & noticed the grinding wheels for the first time.  I thought they were really cool aesthetically.  Since they came in all kinds of sizes, I bought 3.  I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with them.  When I got home I played with them (which was painful because they can & will poke the hell out of your hands) until I found an arrangement I liked.  I glued them together, added a few embellishments and stuck it on my wall.  Back then I was working in the dining room of our apartment.  All my pieces ended up on the wall.

What does this have to do with The Nightly Grind? I’m getting there.  As I mentioned, this was originally The Daily Grind (the original piece).  Through the school, I found a ‘call for entry’ to a gallery in Charlottesville, VA (at the time I had no idea where that was).  Based on the blog post I read, I assumed I would be rejected (the reason why I didn’t consult Google Maps).  To my surprise, both of my entries were excepted and I got to drive 3 hours to a gallery in Charlottesville.

There was a small problem.  The gallery required specific hanging hardware: eye-hooks or d-rings.  The Daily Grind had a sawtooth hanger because I could glue that on.  The other hanger types didn’t work.  Since the art school had welding equipment, I thought I could get someone to weld the proper hooks on. This is how The Nightly Grind was born.  The student who did the welding burned / melted off some of the wires leaving ugly black scorch marks.  It didn’t effect the front of the piece, but it looked like hell on the back.  I ran back to The Home Depot & made a new one for the show.

That left me with a piece that was charred on the back but otherwise fine.  I decided to salvage it by spray painting it black.  Thus The Nightly Grind was born.  The story doesn’t end for this piece yet though.  It’s 2016 and I still have it.  That means I need to make a decision:  toss it in the recycle bin on garbage day or rework it again.   The recycle bin is a last resort & I already have ideas for this piece.  Check back for the rest of the story!