My story

Elli milan laying on her horse Beau

I wanted to take a moment and share a bit of my story and my heart. The first thing you should know about me is that I love people. I love artists and my super power is to believe big things for people and see them in their full potential. I believe that one person can change the world and artists are the leaders of our culture and are mandated to do just that; to change the world with their art.

I grew up in a Greek home in Washington state and then later lived in Hawaii. My father is Greek through and through, and believed that women should marry a man with a good job and be taken care of and raise children. He approved of my art because he thought I could ‘color’ while I am a wife and mom. When I wanted to marry an artist as well, he became fearful and told me we wouldn’t make it and we would always be poor. He has been deceived by the ‘curse of the starving artist’.

John, my artist husband and I rose above these challenges and have pursued our careers as artists, working really hard and never giving up. We raised four children and lived quite well, all from the sale of our artwork. We experienced tremendous success and saw our work go all over the world in countless collections. Together, we have sold over 10,000 pieces of art in 24 years. Through a significant experience of inspiration from God, I opened Milan Art Institute in 2010 and have been training not only my own children but hundreds even thousands of artists ever since.

I am passionate about people living out their destiny and purpose and to not settle into a life of ease and comfort based on the fear of failure. I am your cheerleader and mentor standing in the balcony of your life saying, “Go for it! You can do this, this is who you were born to be! Step into your destiny and live a life of exceptional devotion to your cause! Never give up. Let your passion shine and change the world!”. 

Want to learn more about my story? Read my debut novel Unemployable: The Odyssey of an Artist

book unemployable: the odyssey of an artist


  • Sandra Longmore

    Love your story! and find it so inspirational for my own journey. I am recently retired art teacher knocking at the door to age 80 and ready to live my destiny. I feel my art lets me hold the hand of the great muse and tell stories of hope, worth, and happiness.
    P.S. I am in the master program and have also taken many of your programs loving them all! Thank you for creating such a fine community!

  • Jennifer Steil

    I love this Elli. I am a life that has been changed through your incredible passion, talent, super power, courage, insight, voice and love. Your images are beautiful! I can not thank you enough for saying yes to God in creating The Milan Art Institute, all of its offerings and the gift of The Mastery Program. Your new website is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart and your life.

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