Designer and social media entrepreneur Yannis Dimoulis uses his platform of over 23,000 followers to explore the often-comedic nuances of being Greek-American through his hilarious memes, short videos and pictures which follow current trends in comedy and pop culture.
Using his skills as a designer, Dimoulis crafts memes that help connect the younger generations of the Greek diaspora, by reworking trends in comedy and pop culture references through a Greek-American lens.
Born and raised in Chicago, Dimoulis grew up in a home steeped in Greek tradition. His parents were both born in Greece; his mother in Kalamata, and his father in Raftis, a small town in the Peloponnese near Tripoli.
“I always had an interest in art as a kid, so as I grew up I tried to find a career that would allow me to be creative,” Dimoulis stated. After taking a career aptitude test in high school, which determined that he would make a good engineer, Dimoulis pursued that career path.
“I soon realized that the creativity that I was looking for wasn’t as present in engineering as I’d imagined,” Dimoulis told Greek Reporter, and he decided to pursue design.
After a chance meeting with the head of the program at a design fair, Dimoulis pursued his Masters degree in Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
After some pushing from his friends, Dimoulis started an online store with Greek-American themed items that he had designed, called 54thirty, after the 5,430 miles from Chicago to Athens.
His most popular product is a T-shirt that remixes Chicago’s city flag, two horizontal blue lines with four red stars in the middle, and replaces the horizontal bars with the iconic Greek meander pattern.
Just like with his his memes, Dimoulis likes to “Greek-ify” his designs, representing the dual identity of being Greek-American.
“The feeling that every designer is addicted to is seeing strangers wearing your products,” Dimoulis remarked. That feeling became a reality not long after the launch of his virtual store when he walked into a bar in Chicago’s Greektown and saw a crowd of patrons wearing his Greek-Chicago shirts.
He created an Instagram account for his store, where he posted about his products with an occasional meme, or comedic post featuring relatable content about the Greek-American experience.
“I started to realize that I was more drawn to the comedic content, and that it also brought more people to the account,” Dimoulis added. Now his page is almost exclusively comedic content.
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Dimoulis has a knack for being an outside observer of Greek-American culture, lovingly satirizing the comedic — and sometimes challenging — realities of being part of an immigrant community in America.
He attributes this ability to be an outside observer to his experience with leukemia when he was just nine years old, which separated him from other kids his age and made him philosophically examine life from a young age.
“I was separated from my classmates and kids my age after being diagnosed; my life changed and I was set on a new trajectory. It gave me the ability to view different communities from the outside,” Dimoulis told Greek Reporter.
Dimoulis travels to Greece often, stating, “We always traveled to Greece every other year when I was a kid, but once I started working and making my money I started to go every chance I got.”
Through his memes, his thousands of followers stay connected to both Greece and the Greek-American community, sharing their memories and experiences with their friends, whether they are members of the Greek diaspora or not.
Dimoulis currently hopes to start his own studio that focuses on design strategizing and consulting, while continuing with his comedic pursuits.