Yanni Posnakoff, a Greek by birth and a Russian by ancestry, was born on 4 August 1933 in Thessaloniki, Greece. He graduated from the Advanced School of Marine Engineers. In 1954 he went to U.S.A. on a Fullbright Scholarship and grant from the Doris Duke Foundation and the shipowner Marcos Nomikos. There he attended the University of California, Berkeley, for two years and continued on a scholarship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from which he graduated in 1958 as a naval architect.
In 1965, after having worked as a naval architect for seven years, he devoted himself entirely to art, presenting two simultaneous exhibitions in New York City. Subsequently he presented over thirty exhibitions in U.S.A. and Europe. In 1989 Posnakoff returned permanently to Greece and has been preparing a series of ventures under the title Exemplis Gratis that aim to vitalize material and spiritual resources.
Posnakoff has been consumed with angels since he began to draw them when he was four years old. So preoccupied is Posnakoff with angels that he has vowed to create one hundred thousand angels in his lifetime, but to date is still far from the figure. He insists that angels come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. "I used to see them as a child, even now I see them in some people," he explains. He has illustrated two books on the subject, Children's Letters to God (a best-seller which has been translated into seven languages) and Ask Your Angels (Balentine Press). He is himself angelic and volunteered his time and energies in community programs aimed at encouraging youngsters to engage in creative activities. In 1988 he founded the Angel Gallery in New York City and kept the door open 24-hours a day. It became such a refuge for the homeless that Posnakoff himself moved out of his apartment and lived in the gallery in order to care for the homeless.
Yanni Posnakoff has presented the following exhibitions: Art, Thessaloniki (1968); Nees Morfes, Athens (1971); Diogenis, Athens (1973-1980); and Omega Gallery, Athens (1983). Artworks by Posnakoff are kept at the following institutions: The American College of Greece, Athens; Museum of Modern Art, Thessaloniki; and the Vorres Museum, Peania.
Yanni Posnakoff currently lives and works in Athens.