We met in paradise…
We both grew up in Honolulu, HI and were high school sweet hearts. We then moved to Savannah Georgia to go to art school together. We married in 1995 back in Honolulu, but continued to live in Georgia. We both were oil painters and longed to collaborate on the same painting. After years of trying, we gave up.......until our first child Dimitra changed everything at age 5.
We were living in Thessaloniki Greece. It was September of 2004. We had given up on painting together on the same piece. We both struggled with abstract art and were representational artists. One morning our 5 year old daughter Dimitra walked into our studio, asked if she could paint, and opened a secret door for us into the realm of abstract painting.
The studio floor was laden with flopped art attempts and Dimitra was told she could paint over any piece she saw. She chose a beach scene and began to boldly apply acrylic color with carefree abandon. The outcome was a kiss from heaven and this beautiful abstract you see below. We sent the image to an art dealer who wanted to buy abstract paintings from us. The dealer was amazed and committed to purchase 20 pieces similar. The problem was.....who would paint these paintings?
The collaboration begins…
We thought, "we are accomplished artists, surely we can imitate this simple abstract art!" Elli began to try to copy our daughter's painting when I took the failed attempt off her easel to try to salvage it. It wasn't long before Elli pulled the piece back to her easel to rescue the painting from what I had done to it. We passed the piece back and forth until we were both pleased. It was much more difficult than we had anticipated, but finally we became free enough like our 5 year old child, to make something great together as one person. By the 10th painting in the series, we became fluent in our process and were seamlessly collaborating! We knew this was just the beginning.
The next several years were very successful and we flowed freely together in our new collaborative style. We found that we could not create these pieces by ourselves and we needed each other. We utilized our strengths and filled each other's weaknesses. We truly died to our ego and found a level of unity in our marriage we didn't know even existed. We were at one with each other and the Spirit that inspires us.
Now 10 years later, we still paint collaboratively in an abstracted style unique to ourselves. We are exploring the depths of our creative voice together. We stand amazed to see how our daughter, Dimitra has grown into an accomplished artist today with her own voice and her own style. You can view her art on her own website, www.DimitraMilan.com.