Dan Mills is captivated by cartography and methods of visualizing information. He began to incorporate maps into his work in the early 1990s while exploring the 500th anniversary of what is euphemistically referred to as The First Encounter. Since then, he has made work focusing on historical loss and colonization through erasure and overpainting. Mills uses maps as a space to visualize data about wars and conflicts.
Born in upstate New York, his parents were both painters who lived and worked in Upstate New York and outer Cape Cod. Mills grew up in Schenectady. He earned a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology and MFA from Northern Illinois University. Mills and his wife, artist Gail Skudera, live and work in Lewiston, Maine, where he directs the Bates College Museum of Art.