After discovering Miriam’s stunning photographs and part-time life as a new-age explorer, we wanted/needed to know more. So, we asked. Not only did Miriam answer all our question, but this adventure-seeking artist also helped us put together our Vango x Miriam Ultimate Roadtrip Playlist. Take a listen as you see why Miriam Subbiah is this week’s artist you need to know.

miriam in the studio

Finishing one of her prints, Highway 395. Here it’s hot-off the press with the reduced block still inked underneath.

Vango: Why do you do what you do?
Miriam: I took my first photograph in pre-school of my dog looking out the car window. You can tell it’s me pointing the camera because it’s taken from the height of the car door handle. And I’ve loved documenting people and environments ever since.


V: We know you’re a photographer, what made you want to turn your photographs into prints? 
M: I have always felt a necessity to create things with my hands, and I found the connection between my photographs and prints when I read a quote by Isaac Asimov: “The lucky few who can be involved in creative work of any sort will be the true elite of mankind, for they alone will do more than serve a machine.” Although I have always loved photography, I do feel that I’m using a “machine” when I shoot with my digital camera. Breaking a JPEG file down into a simple arrangement of colors, tracing that image onto a linoleum block and then using a sharp tool to gradually chip away is where the real magic happens for me. The laborious process of reduction printmaking totally transforms my initial photograph from something made of perfect pixels to a tangible print where the creation process is evident.


photo vs. art

Left: Photographing trucks and farmland on the way out to the Mojave dessert. US-15 just East of Barstow, CA. Right: I-5 North, original print.

V: Why is the road so inspiring for you?
M: My obsession with the road began when my friend and I drove a 16 foot U-Haul truck down from Seattle to Los Angeles at the start of summer back in 2013. This was the first road trip I had ever taken, and I was struck by the California landscape, made even more dramatic by our elevated position within the truck. Three months later when I had to pitch an idea for a print series, I still could not stop thinking about the bald patches on the hills due to logging, the miles and miles of crops within ten feet of the highway, and aspects of trucking culture I had never noticed before. The road trip provided a moment of clarity and simplicity, and it was a total high.V: What 5 songs are on your road trip playlist?
Holocene — Bon Iver
One — U2
Thinking About You — Radiohead
Helplessness Blues — Fleet Foxes
Helplessly Hoping — Crosby, Stills and Nash
🎶  listen here

miriam roadside


V: What’s one thing you’ve learned from your travels? 
M: Disconnecting and being present is crucial. We gave up our cell phones and their safety net of Google Maps and instead broke out the Rand McNally road atlas my father gave me when I first got my car. Until my road trip, it had sat unopened in my trunk, slowly getting bent and dented from the piles of groceries and luggage I would throw carelessly on top of it. But suddenly, while driving only to observe and not simply to arrive, the atlas became the best way to plot our path. The small towns dotted along the 395 interstate were places of mystery and intrigue, and for the first time we drove looking ahead instead of down at the phone in our hands.


V: Tell us something we would only know if we had been best friends for 20 years.
M: I used to be extremely shy. Photography helps me to engage with my surroundings even if I am nervous or feel out of place. Thinking about how to best document the environments and people around me is the best way for me to relate to new experiences.
Take a look at Miriam’s stunningly authentic photography on her website where she chronicles her treks, travels, and vacations with friends,  follow her national geographic-worthy instagram account @miriamsubbiah, and keep up with her portfolio on Vango.


A Glimpse into Miriam’s Art
going home

Going Home, 15″ x 10″, $250.

ocean print

Untitled (ocean), 15″ x 10″, $250.

highway 395

Highway 395, 36″ x 24″, $500.

Road Trip, 36" x 24", $500.

Road Trip, 36″ x 24″, $500.

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