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ARTIST NICHOLAS KONTAXIS OPENS PAINTING EXHIBITION DESPITE MEDICAL CHALLENGES

Kontaxis, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor as a baby, has created over 90 complex pieces of cutting-edge art for a new exhibition

LOS ANGELES - March 9, 2017 - The De Re Gallery in Los Angeles announces the gallery's inaugural showing of painter Nicholas Kontaxis' collection, opening on April 1, 2017.

The gallery has displayed the works of acclaimed artists Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann and Robert Longo, among others. Now Kontaxis, the 21-year-old artist from Rancho Mirage, Calif., joins that revered group, showing his vibrant collection of large-scale paintings, a reality that a few years ago was only a dream for the young artist.

At 15 months old, Kontaxis was diagnosed with an extensive brain tumor, one that causes anywhere from five to ten seizures every day along with autistic features and motor difficulties. By his parents’ estimate, Kontaxis has endured over 40,000 seizures in his short life, and multiples surgeries as well.

“His seizures are a daily part of his life,” said Kontaxis’ father Euthym, who is the Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage. Dr Kontaxis adds, “The biggest obstacle he has is lack of ability to communicate really well. He can’t really articulate his thoughts. He seems to understand a lot more than he communicates. His long term prognosis is uncertain". Kontaxis’ mother Krisann added, “He’s always at risk of aspiration or injuries.”

Despite the challenges, Kontaxis lives a happy and active life that includes theraputic horseback riding, bowling, attending church and swimming. Three years ago, he began painting as a potential vocational endeavor. His mother helped mold his painting technique, as he uses a pallet knife to apply acrylic paints to large canvases. The Center for Autism and Related Disorders has been instrumental in helping him achieve these accomplishments. 

“Nicky’s best skill is repetition. He likes to do things over and over. This is actually a productive way of being repetitive. This is a good thing,” Euthym Kontaxis said. “All these things come out in his paintings. It’s part of who he is. One of his neurosurgeons said his paintings look like the wiring of his brain. It’s not symmetric. It’s asymmetric.”

Kontaxis’ work has been previously displayed in the Heath Gallery in Palm Springs, Calif., where he received strongly favorable notices.

“[He is] a prolific painter with a breadth of real talent, both surprising and exciting,” said James Mancini Heath, the owner of the Heath Gallery. “Each layer of texture and paint is almost spiritual in its communication, luring both art aficionado and novices alike. We have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our clients.”

The De Re Gallery in Los Angeles is located at 8373 Melrose Avenue. The Kontaxis show is April 1, 2017 from 5-9pm. A portion of proceeds will go to Autism Care and Treatment (ACT).