A Brief Biography
Miska was born Emily Salemann, a child of immigrants with German, Russian, and Yugoslavian heritage. Miska attended the University of Washington Art School but is mostly a self taught painter, studying the works of the great modern masters daily. After college she moved to St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands) to fulfill her dream of living on a tropical island. In 1998, she left the island to pursue a life as a full time artist in the area where she was raised and had grown to love, the Pacific Northwest. She says, "My parents have always given me unconditional love providing both a physical and mental shelter from any storms that life may bring - I was always encouraged to be an artist as a child, but wanted to be a successful woman executive right out of college. Now I can say I have 'been there and done that', and it is time to be the artist that my parents knew I could be."
Miska has thus far been incredibly successful. Her paintings are colorful and expressive. Her figures, often of young children, are very endearing. The blend of a Roman Catholic and Russian Greek Orthodox religious upbringing has manifested itself in her highly successful series of Madonna icons. Objective viewers find Asian, Latin, and even Native American features in her figures. Nevertheless, Miska calls these figures her "one race" people. When told that her paintings are very "Picasso like", she replies that her paintings are "happier" and her figures more recognizable. She uses gold, bronze, copper and pearl tones in her works that gives them an amazing reflective quality. Her work is also rich in symbolism. Umbrellas, which are very common in her work, are symbols of the 'shelter' she talks about as well as symbolizing the northwest climate. The round circles found on the faces and chests of her figures are symbols of the blush of love and happiness. Flowers, water, mountains and the sun or the moon reflect her love of nature, not to mention her second love after painting...gardening! Her paintings also illustrate that she loves children, families, music and, of course, coffee like most Seattle area natives do.
In August 2000, Miska was chosen by US Art magazine as one of 25 prominent artists to be featured and calls her an emerging success. Her painting, "Green Eyed Icon", featured in the article, has since gained much attention. As one of her many Madonna icons, this work exemplifies the vibrance and color of her paintings, ultimately a symbol of love and happiness. See the Publications Gallery for other articles, reviews and images of Miska's work.