Mikel And Miles
….Mikel Elam spent several years globetrotting with the legend, Miles Davis, as his personal assistant. Very few people have had the opportunity to spend time with the jazz master both in and out of the spot light. In his own word’s Mikel blogs about his personal relationship with Miles, and yes the paintings they worked on together……
…..”I met Miles in October of 1987. I was moving from one freelance job to another disenchanted with my adult life as an artist. A friend of mine who knew Miles introduced me to him and we clicked immediately. Miles asked if I would travel with him as his on the road assistant. Our day to day activities included traveling the world to perform shows, attend press conferences, photo shoots for magazines and advertising campaigns for various companies. During the initial days of working for him, Miles was finishing his soon to be released memoirs and then a little later his first starring role in a film entitled, “Dingo”.
A lesser known activity for Miles was creating paintings and drawings wherever we traveled and whenever there was a free moment he explored this passion with great enthusiasm. One of my special asset’s was a good knowledge of artist materials as I have a BFA degree in painting.
I often observed Miles while he was drawing and painting and as time passed, he began to ask me to contribute some of my ideas to his canvases. For about one year I said no, out of pure fear. I had placed my own artistic career in a bubble thinking one day I would burst that bubble and work on my painting’s again. I had lost my drive mostly because the day-to-day survival of working for Miles had become a grueling process. Working for him and being on the road constantly was both exciting and all consuming.
Miles told me at his Malibu home one day, “Mikel you have to learn to do many thing’s at one time.” He had a big canvas laid out on a large worktable. He stated in a very serious way, “Put some paint on this canvas”. I decided to try and paint again, as it was late at night and I did not have him around to look over my shoulder. The next morning he got up before me and when I went downstairs he looked at the canvas and said, “Mikel it’s a motherfucker”. That was his way of expressing that he enjoyed what I had done.” Several more collaborations with Miles were soon to follow.”……
…to learn more about Mikel Elams Artwork, log on to http://www.mikelelam.com