Daniel E. Militello

(November 26, 1980 – December 4, 2019)

Daniel, known to his close friends and family as “Danny” or “Dan,” came into this world late and large (ten pounds!) on a Wednesday in November, one day before Thanksgiving, and from that point forward, it seems, he lived his life on his own terms. With a great mind, quick wit, sensitive soul, and mischievous spirit, Daniel laughed easily and loved his friends and family members fully. Sadly, his life ended prematurely when he passed away peacefully in his sleep on December 4, 2019.

Daniel was the youngest child of Mona and Daniel Militello, parents whom he tormented and delighted in equal parts. But his love for them was unequivocal, and their devotion to and compassion for him was unparalleled. While his relationships with his three siblings were each unique and as complex as his artwork, there was never any question that Daniel cared deeply for them. This was most visibly demonstrated through the affection and love he showed to their children.

As a young boy, Daniel could often be found with a sketchbook and pencil in hand. His early drawings were replicas of things that caught his eye – an intricate stamp or a small picture in a magazine – and his talent was as astonishing as it was delightful to friends and family members. His parents enrolled him in a class at a local art center, where he was the youngest pupil … by about 25 years! It quickly became clear to everyone there, including the instructor (who later wrote one of his college recommendations), that Daniel had an unusual gift and his creativity knew no bounds.

An accomplished and celebrated artist who won numerous awards for his work, Daniel graduated from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in 2004. In the years after College, while he grappled with mental health challenges and related addictions, Daniel continued to invent new methods to express his ideas and passion through his paintings. In the months preceding his death, he was more positively and responsibly addressing his illness, and living and working in a studio where he continued to create pieces that expressed the pain and beauty he felt so personally.

When anyone dies young, especially someone as talented as Daniel Militello, it is hard to not wonder what could have been. As evidenced by his final unnamed piece, that his family refers to as “The Finale,” his loved ones believe that the best was yet to come.

From his family:

Danny left behind a trove of diverse art and paintings, from sketches to watercolors to landscapes to abstracts. His most recent works were made using a combination of gouache and acrylic paints, designed to create and add varying degrees of depth, volume, and dimension to the canvas.

Cataloging and documenting Danny’s paintings has been a labor of love, in an effort to celebrate his life along with his life’s work, and it is in that spirit that his family has assembled this digital collection of his artwork. Though his life ended prematurely, his legacy will live on forever in his artwork and in our minds.

"I started calling lines on a piece of paper “art” after older humans realized the efficiency of those lines at duplicating another image. It’s sort of like juggling. Or dribbling a basketball well. Only a picture can speak a thousand words."

"We would draw on light green paper with a line, than a dotted line, then a line running down it on the lines, perfecting the marks…that made the sounds that could rhyme and tell stories. There were a lot of rules though. Some were hard to remember."

- On his early school years

Explore the collection

— Musings on art