Nikos Fotakis was born in Rethymnon in 1904. He attended classes at the Athens School of Fine Arts (art workshop of Sp. Vikatos). In 1917 he settled in Thessaloniki where he exhibited his works mainly during the 1930s. He travelled to Germany, Austria, and the USA in order to learn more on contemporary art. At a later stage he lived in Athens where, in addition to painting, he organized public festivals, wrote articles, created theatre sets and costumes.
He returned to Crete in 1948 where he died in 1959. Retrospective exhibitions of his work were held posthumously in Thessaloniki and Heraklion.