Frederick Joseph Ross was born in 1927 in Saint John, New Brunswick. In 1944, he began his art studies with Ted Campbell at the Saint John Vocational School and in 1946 painted a large mural there of the school's annual picnic. Following studies in Mexico in 1949 with Pablo O'Higgins at Taxco, Ross returned to Saint John. In 1950, he briefly visited Mexico again, and met Diego Rivera. In 1970, he resigned his position as Supervisor of Art at the Saint John Vocational School where he had been teaching since the 1950s, to devote his time fully to painting. Although he had exhibited widely since the 1950s, the 1993 Beaverbrook Art Gallery retrospective, The Art of Fred Ross - A Timeless Humanism, secured his reputation nationally. In 2002 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.