Desert Jet FBO artist series inspires and engages travellers flying the Coachella Valley


Desert Jet FBO Thermal

Desert Jet, the premier full-service business aviation company based at the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport in Thermal, California, welcomed the vibrant contemporary works of artist Nicholas Kontaxis to its executive FBO (Fixed-Based Operator) facility one year ago. Kontaxis is the second prominent local artist to be featured at the Desert Jet Center FBO as part of the Artist Series Program launched in early 2020 when the newly built cutting-edge facility opened.

The art pieces created by Kontaxis deliver vivid colour and texture to the beautifully designed executive terminal, engaging and delighting the many travellers and guests that visit the FBO. Several art pieces adorn the hallways, conference room, and pilot lounge, including the captivating large-scale abstract artwork that stretches across the two walls in the mezzanine high above the luxurious lobby.

Kontaxis is a celebrated self-taught artist. He has built a successful career creating large-scale paintings utilizing heavy body acrylic paints and a battalion of pallet knives. Over the last four years, his work has anchored a slew of sell-out solo exhibitions and record-breaking crowds at galleries in Los Angeles, Sun Valley, Palm Desert, Chicago, Atlanta, and New York. He has been commissioned by Adidas, Coachella, and the Los Angeles Chargers while attracting collectors such as Roger Federer and Eric Schmidt. His story has been featured throughout the American and London press, including an Emmy-nominated piece from NBC.

Kontaxis made his international debut in London last fall with an overwhelming reception. The renowned gallerist Liam West of West Contemporary said, “Nicholas is not only a young, talented artist but one that has championed seemingly unconquerable physical setbacks. He is contributing something new and exciting, which the London and international art scenes must-see.”

The 24-year old’s background is also distinct. Kontaxis was diagnosed with an extensive brain tumour at 15 months of age, which resulted in him suffering over 50,000 seizures throughout his life. Montana Butler of Heather James Fine Art observed, “Painting has served as a respite for the artist over the years. Nicholas’ story is like that of many other prominent figures throughout art history like Van Gogh. He also had temporal lobe epilepsy.”  Additionally, Kontaxis has a related form of autism, which is evident in his work through the myriad of repetitious strokes that are the hallmark of his artistic style. Steph Sabbag of De Re Gallery commented, “Nicholas’ paintings are some of the most inspiring works I’ve seen, comparable to artists such as Jasper Johns and Sam Francis.”

“We are thrilled by the overwhelming response that our Artist Series continues to receive from the guests that visit our FBO to those in the art community in the Coachella Valley,” says Desert Jet Chief Marketing Officer Chris Little. “Nicholas is a phenomenally talented young artist. The installation of his bright and colourful art exhibit has been an inspiration to many travellers and guests viewing his paintings and learning about his story.”

Desert Jet Chief Executive Officer Jared Fox said, “It has been such a pleasure to have Nicholas’ amazing art on display at the Desert Jet Center. We have received tremendous responses from our FBO clients who have loved the vibrant abstracts showing in our naturally lit FBO, which is a great combination. Nicholas’ art and unique story are exactly what we envisioned when we created the Artist Series bringing together great new artists and Desert Jet clients in a gorgeous, state-of-the-art FBO.”

The Nicholas Kontaxis collection was exhibited until December 9, 2021. His large-scale mezzanine painting will remain until 2022. Our next upcoming local artist, renowned in the art community for his distinct style and talent, will be unveiled in mid-December.