Jim Vest was born in Durham City, England. He studied at the Sunderland College of art, and at the Manchester College of Art and Design. He immigrated to Edmonton, Canada in 1969 and taught art at Jasper Place Composite High School. After 10 years of teaching, he left teaching in 1980 to put a full time focus on his painting. Throughout his career, Vest has established himself as a respected artist in western Canada. His work is found in many public and private collections both in Canada and internationally. He continues to paint and exhibit his work.