J.B. Vallely, a painter and musician, was born in 1941 into a Co. Armagh family which had a strong cultural involvement in sport and language. At the age of seventeen he sold his first painting in 1958. He then went on to study at the Belfast College of Art from 1959 where he was taught by Tom Carr and later at the Edinburgh Art College.
Vallely’s earliest achievement saw eight of his works purchased for the Irish display at the 1963 World Fair in New York. In 1968 The Irish Times regarded him as “one of the more exciting Irish painters under the age of thirty”. Over his career he has produced some four thousand individual pieces; over one hundred commissions, some of which include album and book covers. He has taken part in scores of group shows, has had thirty-eight solo exhibitions and is a contributor to twenty-five major art collections.
In the year 2000 a large retrospective of J.B. Vallely’s work was held in Armagh. The show was comprised of almost two hundred paintings from different stages of his forty year career as a painter. Vallely's subject matter has remained linked to the past but his feeling for paint is vigorously contemporary. Rural Ireland, its traditions, music, sports and mythology create strong themes within his work and his interest in traditional culture is almost vocational.
“The Painting is not just a dead caricature – it has to have a sensation of living.” - J.B. Vallely