Dimitra Milan is a young artist with dreams so big, she can’t help but paint them.
Strong females and vibrant wild animals often blend on her canvas, illustrating Milan’s active imagination and bold symbolism. Her works use oil paint and mixed media to create colorful, captivating subjects caught in a hybrid world of reality and surrealism.
“I want my artwork to inspire people to make them feel anything is possible,” said Milan, an Arizona-native.
From wolves to tigers, each animal she paints tells part of a greater narrative and serves as a metaphor within her illustrated stories. The women who reside in the dreamy atmosphere of her works don’t shy away from potential danger. Instead, they engage and co-exist with the animals beside them.
Milan may be young, but art is in her blood. Her parents are both talented, full-time artists who opened their own private school, the Milan Art Institute, when Dimitra was just 12 years old. It gave the young girl the opportunity to take classes on any subject she wanted—from inks to oils.
In her early teens, Milan and her parents realized her natural talent as well as her passion for the craft. Milan enrolled in an intensive home school program which allowed her to graduate high school when she was just 15 years old.
Milan’s arguably, most well-known early painting features a young woman and a crow. It’s a work Milan herself fell in love with and helped direct her to the type of work she wanted to create. Originally, she was warned that no one would buy artwork featuring such an “unrelatable” figurative element. Despite the warnings of those around her, she stayed true to her heart and believed that her work would speak to people. She was right.
Since then, the teenager has been pursuing her career full time and quickly drew notice from the art world.
When she was barely old enough to drive, Milan’s work was shown in a major international show in Honfleur, France; the home of renowned impressionist painter Claude Monet. From January to August 2016, she sold 70 paintings ranging from $3,000 to $11,000 each.
Milan continues to blaze her own trail and break from tradition. When she was 18, she decided to take her career into her own hands and cut ties with her original publishing house. While many artists dream of finding someone to publish their artwork, her vision was to bring her work directly to the people, on her terms.
Throughout, Milan has stayed humble and focused with a work ethic she attributes to her parents.
She can normally be found in a small studio beside the family home by 9 a.m. each morning and works a full eight-hour day just like any other professional. She realized early on that success in art—like any other career—takes hard work, passion and commitment. She’s learned to push past her comfort zone on days she doesn’t feel like painting and break through to her true potential.
Just like the fluid imagination and dreamscapes of her art, Milan believes her creative process will only continue to evolve as she grows older.
“I want people to understand their true identity and believe in their destiny,” she said.
For this young artist, art serves as inspiration to others—a way to illustrate the belief that anything is possible.