An enthusiastic crowd were enthralled by the work of heraldic artist IOANNIS P. VLAZAKIS at the opening reception of “ILLUMINATIONS” organized by THE GEORGE “BEST” COSTACOS CULTURAL AND CANCER  RESEARCH FOUNDATION and hosted by the CONSUL GENERAL OF GREECE IN NEW YORK, HONORABLE AGHI BALTA. The opening reception was held on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at the Greek Consulate in New York.  The exhibition is open to the public weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at 69 East 79th Street, New York, NY.  For more information, call 1-212-988-5500.

Dora Ziongas, Dimitris Filippides, Sylvia Kiouzelis and Nikos Floros from the Board of Directors of the George “Best” Costacos Cultural and Cancer Research Foundation warmly thanked Mrs. Aghi Balta for her support and hosting the exhibition at the Greek Consulate.

Among the many distinguished guests were Angelo Camillo of the Kouros Gallery, Georgia Tavoularios, Peter Krekoukis, David C. Lyden, M.D., Ph.D., Prof. Nicholas Economides, Nicholas Robakis, Ph.D, Dr. Maria Theodoulou, M.D. Asher Matathias, Ph.D., Barbara Andreadis, David LotzRussell Bush, Lynn Manuel, Consul General of Cyprus, Honorable Koula Sophianou, Chrysanthos Petsilas, Dr. Evi Giannakakou, Mary Polemarhakis, Yanna Darili Constantine, Mary Politis, Meinrad Hofer, Ijaz Malik, Eva Simatou, Vasilis Kokkinides, They joined the many others who expressed their admiration for the talents of Ioannis Vlazakis and commended the George “Best” Costacos Cultural and Cancer Research Foundation on their initiative and commitment to promoting talented young artists.

Asher Matathias, Ph.D., Professor at St. John’s University commented that “Ioannis Vlazakis is truly to be commended for carving a unique niche with his talent, satisfying an incipient but growing desire for people and organizations to connect with a historical pedigree… Heraldic art does this with a tasteful vengeance…  May the foundation and the artist prosper in their respective creative labors to conquer cancer, for the former, and to continue to bring us expressions in art to lift our spirits and gain wide recognition. ”

illuminations3Ioannis P. Vlazakis is an internationally recognized artist who specializes in heraldry and illuminated manuscripts inspired by the western medieval tradition.   Mr. Vlazakis has painted many coats of arms for several families in Greece and abroad, as well as personal blazons. He has created institute logos and has illustrated books.

Selected high points of Mr. Vlazakis’ career as a heraldic artist have been the creation of The Royal Coat of Arms of the Prince of Egypt and of the Royal Family of Serbia, which he presented to H.R.H. Prince Osman Rifat Ibrahim of Egypt and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia.He has also collaborated with several well known Greek magazines and newspapers as an arts & theater critic, covering cultural events, interviewing artists, as well as writing articles on the arts and culture.

Mr. Vlazakis is a member of the Board of Directors of the Heraldic & Genealogical Society of Greece and an honorary member of the Institute of Naval History of Portugal Dom Luis I.

Mr. Vlazakis has received numerous awards for his work including the following:

  • Decorated with the Cross of Honour of the Institute of Naval History of Portugal “Dom Luis I”
  • Honorary Diploma from the Austrian Albert Schweitzer Organization (2010)
  • 1st prize in the art competition of the Philological Society “Parnassos”  (2009)
  • Award by the Prefecture of Arta  (2009)
  • Honorary Diploma from the Center of Medievalism & Heraldry of Cyprus (2009)
  • Honorary Diploma from the Society of Greek Literaries  (2009)
  • Honorary Diploma from the Hellenic Ministry of the Aegean (1998)

Recent Major Individual Exhibitions Include the following:

May 2010

«Great Portuguese Explores of the 15 Century»

Under the auspices of the “Institute of Naval History of Portugal Dom Luis I”.

Sep – Nov, 2009

«Magni Magistri 1305-1522»

Held at the Neohellenic Art Museum of Rhodes in coordination with the 4th Office of Byzantine Antiquities of the Hellenic Republic.

The exhibit welcomed over 12000 visitors

Feb. 2009

«Tracing the Middle Ages»

Exhibit was introduced by Count Tony Breidel-Hatzidimitriou

Mar 2009

«Arta: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow»

Under the auspices of the provincial government of the prefecture of Arta, exhibited the Byzantine art of Arta.

May 2008

2nd Annual International Medieval Art Festival in Rhodes

Exhibited by invitation of the organizers of the event.

Ioannis Vlazakis received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Studies from the National Kapodistrian University of Athens and has received an Master of Arts degree in Theatre Studies  with distinction from the same university.

Mr. Vlazakis was born in Mitilini, Greece and has lived in several Greek cities, as well as Nicosia, Cyprus. Since the 1990s he has been resided in Athens, Greece


A recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, THE GEORGE “BEST” COSTACOS CULTURAL AND CANCER RESEARCH FOUNDATION was founded in 2009 to honor the memory of the late actor/singer and member of the ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION, GEORGE “BEST” COSTACOS who died in November 2008 of a malignant brain tumor.  The foundation’s mission is to promote, foster, and advance the professional pursuits of young performers in theater, dance or musical performance, to support research to understand the etiology of cancer and to support improvement in the management of brain tumors.


GEORGE COSTACOS was born in Athens, Greece in 1964 and besides being an exceptional student, became an accomplished athlete, winning awards for gymnastics in the  BALKAN GAMES. He also exhibited artistic talent in many areas at a very young age.  An award from the FULLBRIGHT FOUNDATION gave him the opportunity to study in New York.  His passion for music and the theater led him to receive countless kudos for diverse and prolific creativity as an actor and a writer.


George Costacos died at the age of 44 in Hanover, Germany of complications from a malignant brain tumor.