John and Elli Milan met in Hawaii while Elli was still in high school and John was “beach bumming”. Deciding early to make a career as artists, they enrolled at Savannah College of Art and Design and later transferred to the University of Georgia where they received their BFA in painting. It was in this small, but vital city, that the couple developed personal styles and began showing their work in local galleries. After graduation the couple worked independently but began dreaming about working together.
Today, they live their dream and the Milan’s create their paintings together. Although John and Elli are both accomplished artists on their own, this collaboration brings out a side of their work that neither could reach by themselves. The couple says that their art expresses the exchange between heaven and earth. Their spiritual life is what inspires their artwork and allows them to create together and maintain a unified vision. The end result is aggressive and spontaneous layers of paint which create a bright and playful scenario that is interwoven with hints of narrative.
The Milan’s have traveled extensively to Greece, and these trips have inspired their artwork and life. A fascination with contemporary buildings built around old ruins and the visible layers of history have become a metaphor for the way the Milan’s see spiritual transformation in themselves and the people around them. Like these ancient cities, our lives are complex; as we grow and progress the new slowly replaces the old, yet we are often nostalgic for our old self, rather than looking forward with great expectation to our destiny. One of the Milan’s dreams is to establish a permanent studio in one of Greece’s beautiful coastal cities.
The Milan’s and their four children live in Queen Creek, Arizona. Their home studio is prolific and open year-round. The Milan’s are well-established artists with careers that have seen their work in galleries and private collections in Canada, Europe, the United States, the Philippines and Dubai.