The Island Art Studio was founded in 2002 by Chris and Julie Mills as a center for art, music, and Aikido. Chris holds a 4th degree black belt and has been teaching Aikido on Bainbridge Island since 1990. Julie has taught on Bainbridge since 1997,  at the Circle Preschool, Montessori Country School, and at our Island Art Center since 2003, where she developed both the Art & Motion and Armored Lotus programs. We are members of the United States Aikido Federation (USAF) and attend local seminars as well as travel nationally to attend other events. It is our USAF obligation to support master teachers who studied under the founder, Morihei Ueshiba, during his life.

We believe all art comes from the same place, a place of mind and body unity. This is not only the core of the artist but the center of human condition.  We feel that art as a process is vital to the development of individual character refinement.

Chris Mills, Founder

At a young age I discovered I could draw the things I saw. This ability along with a desire to improve enabled me the confidence to become an artist. Later when I was in my teens, I picked up a guitar that was left at my home. At first it proved baffling, but when a friend showed me a few chords and scales, I was hooked. I learned that it was just like drawing. Passion, a willingness to practice, and a belief in myself was what I needed to become a musician. At the same time I was introduced to the martial arts. The same was true, a passion for the art coupled with an almost neurotic desire to perfect myself, and I slowly developed into a martial artist. 

As an adult I deeply studied three art forms; music, martial movement, illustration and fine art. After studying music in community college and art school, I became a commercial illustrator by day and a professional musician at night. After trying several martial arts I discovered Aikido (the path of blending energy). This beautiful non-violent martial art spoke to my artistic temperament and confirmed my belief that all creative energy can be manipulated into any art form.

Julie Mills, Founder

I graduated The University of Connecticut in 1980 with a liberal arts degree and a dream.  Somewhere along the way teaching and a future in the arts waned and took a backseat to ….. political science. Armed with a degree and a passion, I tested for the Foreign Service.

Beirut Lebanon in the early ‘80’scame into focus and I started to second guess my chosen career.  The reboot of life plans led me back to the city I was born in (Seattle).  Seattle was full of great music, rich with art, lots of extended family, and my best friend, to whom I have been married to for 28 years, (co founder Chris Mills). Both of our extended family histories on Bainbridge Island date back almost a century.

Bainbridge Island WA 2015, and many years later, with two beautiful, ambitious daughters semi- exported, many extended family additions (and a few subtractions), 16 years teaching in the Bainbridge Community under my wing, life has come full circle.  I love discovering art and music with children of all ages and providing an open environment to approach life with confidence, accessibility, and opportunity.  Everyone is an artist; some just don’t know it yet. Come draw outside the lines.