Born in Heraklion, Crete in 1932, Yiannis Parmakelis studied sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts, with a scholarship funded by the state. His teachers were, among others, the painter Yiannis Moralis and the sculptor Yiannis Pappas.
During his studies, he was prized with two awards and also commended five times, for both sculpture and drawing. He then continued his studies for three years (1961-64) at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, with a scholarship funded by the Hellenic State Organization of Scholarships (IKY). In Paris, during his studies, he was in the company of sculptures Zadkine and Couturier.
Yiannis Parmakelis taught drawing at the Doxiadis Technology Institute between 1968 and 1976. He later taught sculpture at Vakalo School of Art and Design between 1995 and 1999.
He was invited by the Democritus University of Thrace with honorary title as Lecturer and Teacher ( P.D. 407/80). He founded the Artist and Humanitarian Organization at the School of Architecture and Engineering, where he taught between 2000 and 2006.
Since 1975, he has created 85 Medals, among them the Silver Medal for Democracy , 12 Alexander the Great Medals etc.
Representing Greece, he received an award at the European Competition for the Euro Currency.
Yiannis Parmakelis has represented Greece at many exhibitions abroad as well as the Biennales of Alexandria, Paris, Sao Paolo, Venice, Budapest and Cologne.
His sculptures can be found at Museums, public spaces, Private Institutions and Foundations in Greece, Europe and the United States.
He is an active member of the Academy of Athens in the Section of Letters and Fine Arts since November 3, 2011.