Iannis Nikou studied painting at the School of Fine Arts in Athens, from 1965 up to 1970, with G. Mavroides, N. Nikolaou, Y. Moralis in painting and E. Voila in the art of the mosaic. At the same time he attended the Athens Scool of Theatre and Cinema where he studied acting and scenography. Furthermore during this period, he completed his classical guitar lessons. He also worked on frescoes and did the scenery and costumes for theatrical productions. In 1982, following a competition, he was chosen to represent Greece in the E.E.C. exhibition entitled “150 Young Painters of the Community”.
In 1984, Dimitris Arvanitis, the cinema director, presented the work of Iannis Nikou in the film “Surrealism in Greek Painting”, which won the first prize in the short classification, at the Thessaloniki Film Festival. In 1985, whilst living in Italy, he was awarded a prize for his work by the Umbria Region and the Ministry of Tourism and, in 1987, the International Art Committee of Lugano bestowed on him the title of “Magister” and included his the special adition of “Protagonists of Italian Art”. In 1988 he took part in the 7th Europeean Biennale, in Rome, where he won the Drawing prize. In the same year, he was also awarded by a special UNICEF prize.
In the work of Iannis Nikou , one can easily notice a particurarity not usual in the contemporary art scene: the large thematic. Therefore, his painting can be divided in units,depinted parallely at the same period, such as : the “ Romantic Cycle”, the “Paganistic – Allegorical Cycle”, ” The World of Angels”, the “Biblical Cycle”, the “Medieval Cycle”, the “Mythological Cycle “, the “Historical Cycle”, the ” Seascapes and Seabattles”, the ” Modern Cycle ” , “ The Portraits” and finally, the “drawings with pencil”. Another characteristic of his artistic identity, is his preference to express himself through paintings of big dimensions, almost epical (of 5×2 meters of ex.) which give him the opportunity to unfold his artistic power and his special skill in design.
At this point, must be mentioned Nikou’s English – Irish origin, from his mother’s side ( she was descending from the Houses of Southgate and Courteney). We can see the influence of this origin in the painter’s work and especially in the “Medieval ”,the “Paganistic – Allegorical and the “ Romantic’’ Cycles, as well.
Besides, drawing holds a position of prime importance in Nikou’s work, who has been repeatedly praised by Art historians for his mastery in drawing. His drawings are complete works in pencil and has been written about them: “vibrating, sensitive, moving, the drawing of Iannis Nikou, creates a solid basis for his oil paintings, proclaiming him at the same time, a grand master of the design ( Dr. Dora Rogan, Art Historian, the “Art and Living” magazin, Athens 1996).
He has, so far, presented his work in many one-man shows, in Athens, Thessaloniki, Brussels, Milan, Brescia, Genoa, Rome and Toronto. He has also participated in exhibitions in Basel, Paris, Spoleto, Todi, Rome, Turin, Savona, Malta, New York, Toronto, Antwerp, and Nicosia. His work is mentioned in dictionaries and art books published in Greece and Italy. I.Nikou’s paintings are exhibited in art Museums and private collections in Greece and abroad. He left Italy and returned to Greece in order to realize an old dream of his: to escape from the city and to live close to nature. In his wanderings about the country, he discovered what he believes to be the ideal environment for creation, a place in the nature, in the north of Greece, where he most of the time lives and works.