Founder of the Lascaux Academy
Lefteris was born and raised in Ypsilanti, MI, the son of Greek-Cypriot immigrants. After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1991, he moved to Japan where he worked as a production engineer for Toyota Motor Corp. at their headquarters in Aichi prefecture.
Although Lefteris enjoyed his experience in Japan, he quickly became disillusioned with the automotive industry and the engineering profession in general, and so spent the next several years trying to figure out what to do with his life. He wanted to do more meaningful work for society and be of service to others, while at the same time continue to work with technology, but he had no clue what this consisted of.
While in Japan Lefteris came across Robert Pirsig’s deeply insightful book “Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” Pirsig was the first person to actually put into words what Lefteris was grappling with; namely the fundamental disconnect in our culture between romantic (artistic) understanding and classical (scientific) knowledge, which PIrsig (and Lefteris) believe lies at the heart of our struggle to be happy with ourselves, find deeper meaning and purpose in our lives and our work, and learn to co-exist peacefully with our planet and other people.
Although Pirsig beautifully articulated the root of the problem, and Lefteris was relieved to find out he was not the only one thinking about this issue within ourselves and society, he still felt as if something was missing and not right. So Lefteris continued looking for answers, which fortunately he was able to discover; but this time in a channeled book that altered the course of his life.
After returning to the US from Japan in 1995 and discovering “A Course in Miracles” at a nearby bookstore where he lived in Lexington, KY at the time, Lefteris instinctually began practicing the lessons in the book. Soon after, he decided to leave Toyota and embark on a long journey in search of a career that would allow him to merge and bridge both artistic and technical understanding, two-equally important aspects of our consciousness. He believed this was the only way he would be truly fulfilled and satisfied by his work.
At the moment, Lefteris feels he is very close to realizing his goal. He is currently working for a Japanese semiconductor company in the telecommunications industry in Silicon Valley, and is also co-owner with his wife, Jane, of Lascaux Academy, an art school they purchased from a mutual friend in 2013. Both “jobs” allow him to work closely with engineers and artists; the only problem is the engineers and artists work in two different businesses with no connection to each other. So every day Lefteris asks himself the same question: “How can I unite these two groups of employees and colleagues under one roof so that they can work together and help each other?”
One attempt to answer this question is the blog Lefteris wrote here “The Beauty of Artists in the Workforce”. Lefteris is also tossing around a couple of ideas in his head for startup tech companies, whose missions are to make art and spiritual teachings accessible to everyone in the workplace. In other words, to teach people that not only does true happiness come from within, but that they are the creators of their own realities, just as artists create artworks using canvases and paint or engineers create gadgets using electronics and computer code. Our individual and collective realities are no different. We are all really just artists, dressed up in different occupations and creating our lives one brush stroke at a time. Lefteris will keep you posted on his continuing journey, so please check back again.