John Neville’s nostalgic works of art of bygone days chronicle the folklore and daily lives of the local fishermen and their women from his childhood village. This popular Canadian artist, who splits his time between Nova Scotia and Maine, is a painter, printmaker and story teller who has engaged collectors throughout his long career with his exceptional etchings, and more recently the bold palette and modern compositions of his impressive oil paintings.
A native of Nova Scotia, Neville was born in Halls Harbour on the Bay of Fundy, to a family of boat builders and fishermen where hard work was taken for granted. He grew up fishing with his father, building boats and listening to the tales of men and women in the local villages. There were stories about bootlegging, bad luck, record catches, rivalries and drunken husbands—all of which became the basis for his rich pictorial language.
At a young age Neville began drawing boats and other subjects on the backs of advertisement broadsheets that his grandfather, the village postmaster, gave him. In 1972 Neville left Halls Harbor to attend the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax where he studied photography and printmaking. After graduating with a BFA in 1976 from the Centre Gravure de Contemporaine in Geneva, Switzerland, he returned to Halls Harbour to set up a printmaking studio.
In recent years, Neville brought the mark making of his etchings to the brush. His oil paintings are instantly recognizable by his drawing style and his bold use of color, and they continue to tell the tales of these bygone days by recording a rich folklore and a vanishing way of life with consistency and beauty.