Also known as Ivan Dmitri, Levon West gained international fame for his portrayals in color photography, etchings and watercolors. During his youth, West moved throughout North Dakota, as his father was a congressional preacher. After graduating from high school he taught school for a year and enlisted in the United States Navy. West was the recipient of a scholarship to the University of Minnesota where, although he was interested in art, he studied business administration.
West gained recognition as an artist upon the publication of his etching “The Spirit of St. Louis”, when Charles Lindbergh arrived in Paris. His etchings were soon in great demand. He also gained recognition as a photographer and, in order to separate his two artistic fields, West took the name of Ivan Dmitri for his photographic work. Dmitri founded Photography in the Fine Arts in 1959.