Barry was born into a working class family and raised in the government tenement housing projects of Northern England in the mill town of Lancaster. At the age of twelve he immigrated to North America with his family and began an intense four-year apprenticeship program under a Hungarian Master painter and later completed his education with a B.F.A. from the University of Lethbridge. As well as being an artist Barry has been an editor-in-chief of an arts magazine, educator and more recently a curator of a contemporary art space. Barry lives and works in Calgary, Alberta Canada where he keeps a full time studio and shows his work in Canada and the U.S. His work can be found in private and public collections around the world.
“ I consider myself to be an emblematic painter using objects, symbols and icons to create a visual shorthand. Many of the figures and images I use throughout my work are of displaced, fringe or outsider characters. I choose these characters in part as reference to my early childhood growing up in a class-based society and in part to my status as an immigrant. When you are an immigrant you are left with a sense of loss for the culture you left behind and the sense of detachment with your adopted culture. This sense of detachment can be seen throughout my work in the form of floating characters, icons and symbols. This sense of detachment also enables me to view my world as an outsider looking in and/or as an observer of my world around me, a good trait to have as a visual artist.”