Italian artist traces ancestor’s footsteps to US, chases work dream thanks to IU professor

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana — Italian-born air brush and graphic design artist Simone Millo is chasing a dream.

Millo, 26, from Giulianova, Italy, on the Adriatic Sea, finished his second-level degree in visual arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna (equivalent to a master’s degree in the U.S.) in May.

Immediately, he started looking for ways to pursue his dream and find work in America, because the depressed economy in Italy is less than promising for a young artist. That’s where Bloomington resident Bob Jacobs comes in.

About a year before Millo finished his studies, he started looking for his American relatives on the Internet. In his broken English, he described, “I searching the name DiPancrazio because I know that I have relatives in the USA because my grandfather spoke to me of this family that come here.”

The search was made more difficult because of the different spelling, DiPangrazio, but he was able to connect with a distant cousin, Ann DiPangrazio in Florida, through Facebook, The Herald-Times reported ( ).

Earlier this year, Jacobs, a cousin to Ann, contacted her saying he was going to visit their family’s home town of Giulianova, Italy, while on break from teaching in Zagreb, Croatia, which is right across the Adriatic Sea from Giulianova.

Jacobs is a professor at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, as is his significant other, Rhonda Lummus, and they wanted to visit the area Jacobs remembers his grandparents telling him about when he was a child.

Millo’s great-grandfather, Emidio DiPancrazio, was the brother of Jacobs’ grandfather, Serafino DiPangrazio, who was the only member of the family to emigrate to the U.S.

After this summer’s visit, Jacobs made arrangements for Millo to come to America on a two-month tourist visa to meet family members and pursue his dream of working and living in America.

Since the last week in October, Millo has been practicing his English, doing his air brushing in a makeshift studio in Jacobs’ garage and beating the bushes looking for work as a graphic artist and illustrator.

“Maybe I want to repeat the story of my generation … for my own generation,” Millo said of coming to America. “Because it is the same when Serafino came.”

He is about the same age as Serafino was in 1920 when he came to America seeking work away from the then-depressed Italian economy.

“Only the strong go away from Italy,” he said of how difficult it would be to move away.

“My family is in my heart,” he said. “But my future … I have to find my future.”


Information from: The Herald Times,