57ºF

Man builds artists' 'selfie-esteem' one brush stroke at a time

Chazz Miller starts Pubic Art Workz, mentors budding young artists

photo

DETROIT – Chazz Miller was born to be an artist, but like many kids from the inner city, he did not have the support at home to move to the next level.

"I ran home with three letters from three different schools and one of them was a full scholarship and I said, 'Mom, look,' and she said, 'Baby, that's fine, but what are you going to do for a living?'" Miller said.

Miller went to art school, graduated and had a successful career in advertising. But he wanted more.

Miller returned to Detroit and started Pubic Art Workz, where he mentors budding young artists as they pursue their passion for the arts.

"What's the transformation that you see art enacts in your people?" asked Mitch Albom.

"Well, the No. 1 transformation man is self-esteem. A lot of kids can't express themselves through writing or through music, or even sometimes verbally," Miller said. "I have dealt with a lot of these issues in the classroom, so the No. 1 thing is to build up that self-confidence and the 'selfie' esteem."

Miller has grown his "selfie-esteem" idea to global proportions. Working with the International Institute, which helps new immigrants transition into the American way of life, Miller has created the One Million Selfies project.

"We want to use the selfies to embed them into flags of the different countries. So I have estimated it will take about 10,000 selfies per flag as pixels," Miller said.

Using numerous social media sites, Miller is collecting selfies that will be part of a 100-foot mural that will be displayed on Woodward Avenue later this year.

"It will be a great opportunity for Detroit to show good will ambassadorship to the world," said Miller.

Building "selfie-esteem" one brush stroke at a time, Miller is reinventing the arts in the heart of Detroit.

Heart of Detroit