As we all know, Greeks consider other Greeks family no matter where they live or work. This past week, Oct. 17-21, three Greek artists arrived in Reading, Pennsylvania ready to connect with other fantasy and Sci-Fi artists for IX, also known as ILLUXCON. The four-day main show and nighttime showcase, held at the Goggleworks Art Center in Reading, is a fine art symposium exhibition dedicated solely to imaginative realism and the art of fantasy and science fiction, concentrating on traditional techniques, with an emphasis on original pieces.

Antonios Christou, Chris Kotsakis and Jon Sideriadis arrived from Australia, New Jersey and Connecticut (respectively) ready for a great weekend of demonstrations, portfolio reviews, lectures, and workshops. And as so often happens when Greeks get together, they connected and were instantly a “parea”. Parea in the Greek language means “group of friends” or good company, that gather together to share their experiences about life, their philosophies, and values and ideas.

Antonios Christou traveled around the world from Adelaide, Australia to Pennsylvania to exhibit in the night showcase at IX, displaying his pieces such as King Sphinx and Atlantis, beautiful dragons and other imaginative realism artwork, as well his comic called Luminous Ages.

Jon Sideriadis, of Meriden, CT, was juried into the main show of IX and exhibited his beautiful work, which combines mythos with worldbuilding.

The influences of his Greek Byzantine heritage and iconography are evident in his work, which is bold, yet peaceful at the same time. He gave a lecture on his upcoming book Astromythos which packed the auditorium. IX is held annually and has grown to feature 75 traditional artists in the fully-juried main show, brought in by a broad spectrum of notable museum curators, writers, artistic directors, film producers, publishers, collectors and artists who serve as the judges.

The Night showcase is held Friday and Saturday nights at the grand ballroom in the Doubletree Hilton in Reading, and over 130 traditional and digital artists display their art to the public.

Chris Kotsakis has been a regular attendee at IX since its inception 11 years ago and has developed a special friendship with the show’s organizers Patrick and Jeannie Wilshire. Chris, an illustrator for many years, has become more involved with creative direction recently. In 2016, he and a team of colleagues started an art conference called Artistacon which provides mentorship, networking and educational opportunities for young artists, illustrators, sculptors, and writers starting out in the business.

Chris sponsored a symposium presented by corporate and trademark attorney Seth Polansky focusing on starting your own creative business from a legal standpoint and contracts for creatives. The next Artistacon will take place at Moore College of Art and Design on March 22-24, 2019. Chris and John met at IX in 2017 at the 10th Anniversary Show and became fast friends. There is a general feeling that the IX show has become like one giant family through the years, and they were happy that their fellow Hellene, Antonios, could join them this year for food, drinks, and, yes, a little dancing.

Many of the works in the show employ mythos, mythology, and fantasy, and wherever you looked you could trace ideas and notions back to the Greek, Norse and Celtic myths of long ago. So, these Greeks fit right in. It was a great weekend of camaraderie and catching up with old and new friends according to Kotsakis, who says “I am grateful for my parea and the brotherhood that has formed throughout this event through the years. I’m already looking forward to next year!”

IX year is slated for October 23-27, 2019 for more info please visit their website.