Jean-Claude Roy was born in Rochefort-sur-Mer on the west coast of France in 1948. He knew from the age of seven that he wanted to be an artist, and was encouraged by his grandfather, a farmer of modest means who occasionally bought paintings at auctions. Jean Claude recalls attending early-morning produce markets with his grandparents and making his first "sculptures" from the coloured paper used to wrap apples and oranges.
At the age of 16, after technical lycee, he attended merchant marine training and took his first job at 17 as an apprentice electrician on a cable-repair boat. There followed several years at sea, with much time spent in the port of St John's, Newfoundland where his interest in art turned to landscape.
He describes his style as "expressionist-colourist"; he works most frequently in oils and with a palette knife. Since the late 1980's a characteristic of his landscapes has been the presence of the sun; this followed a discovery that putting a sun - initially a black sun - in the sky added light to the painting, and it has now come to form an important part of the compositon of each work.