Βorn in Kalamata, Greece, Fotopoulos was strongly influenced by the Byzantine icons at a young age. He studied painting in Athens and began his career in 1958 as set and costume designer in the Athens Opera House. In 1963, he collaborated with E.Kazan for the scenography of «America-America». He was only 30 years old when he received the Oscar for set decoration for M.Cacoyannis' «Zorba the Greek». He worked in the USA until 1973. After moving back to Greece, he made numerous collaborations with the most prestigious theatre companies. From 1980 onwards he dedicated himself to painting.
His set designs were in harmony with the script and rather simple, while the mood and the social situation of the characters were always taken into consideration. Fotopoulos had always had a need to transform tradition in one way or another. His painting was a mix of different techniques. It was aggressive, ideological, tragic, symbolic and direct.