John Boyle moved to St. Catharines in 1962 to teach elementary school. Impressed by the strength of painted images, he decided to become a painter and taught himself the craft. He began to exhibit his paintings in 1964. He was also inspired by a meeting with artists from the London 'Regional' movement, Greg Curnoe and Jack Chambers, who believed that an artwork is most vital when the artist draws their subject from their own place and time. Boyle gave up teaching in 1968 to become a full time artist. In 1970 he served as the first president of the Niagara Artist's Cooperative, now the Niagara Artists Centre.

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