Life Connected

Artist With Autism Communicates Through His Paintings

A young painter living in his own world has found his own way to communicate through his art.

Nicholas Kontaxis, 21, can barely communicate. He was diagnosed with an extensive brain tumor at the age of 15 months. He has autism and seizures come and go daily. But, physical challenges don't get in the way of Kontaxis' calling as an artist.

Since he was a little boy in Palm Springs, his big Greek family has provided plenty of support and encouragement as he pursues his passion. But is this passion a path to perhaps something more?

Recently, the path led him from Palm Springs to Melrose Avenue. Kontaxis' art lines the walls of the De Rose Gallery on the opening night of a public exhibit.

He is being heard.

"This is his voice, he has a connection to people and they have found their connection to him," Aunt Jenni Pulos said.

The artist himself remains a man of few words, but it doesn't matter.

The titles of his paintings are unique — for example, "A Mouse in the Chair," — like the art itself.

"All these years we thought he could never connect. And he has been. Probably more than many of us do. This is his miraculous way of expressing it," Pulos said.

On opening night, 20 paintings were sold with a portion of proceeds going to the organization "Act Today" for autism care and research.

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