In 1876 he went to France where he originally studied law at Aix and then painting in private academies under Karl Cartier and Raphael Collin. In 1885 he returned to Greece and started working for the Greek magazine Το Άστυ and the Greek newspaper Ακρόπολη, illustrating various events of the period.

His exhibition activity included participation in the Olympia Exhibitions of 1888 (bronze medal) and 1896, the International Exhibition of Paris in 1900, at which he also received a bronze medal, and practically all of the artistic exhibitions between 1900 and 1940, such as those staged by the League of Greek Artists, of which was a member and also served as President of for many years, and those at the Parnassos Hall. He also exhibited in Smyrna (1902), Alexandria (1905 and 1909) and Rumania where he remained from 1907 to 1910 for family reasons. Even though he was not a member of the avant garde Art Group he applauded innovative ideas and three times presented works at its exhibitions (1917 and 1919). For many years he was also a member of the Society of Art Devotees as well as many artistic committees. From 1915 until his death he worked as a curator and preservationists at the National Gallery to which he willed his entire fortune as well as his personal collections of objects and works of art.

Fokas was one of the introducers of both the plein air movement and impressionistic trends into Greece and, in his time, was often considered daring, a real pathfinder. With the exception of a few portraits and still lifes, his painting focused on landscape, particularly that of Attica and Rumania, which he rendered with exceptional sensitivity to color and light.