John Breakey was born in 1932. He studied first at Belfast College of Art from 1953-1958 then moved on to London to a place in the Slade School of Art 1958-1960 where he studied drawing, painting, etching and lithography. finishing there with the Slade Diploma of fine Art.
He was elected an Academician of The Royal Ulster Academy of Arts, Vice President of the RUA 2003-2004 and honorary life member of the Ulster Arts Club. He has won many prizes and awards among them: the Travel award from the arts council of Northern Ireland in 1990, and a place at the Tamarind Institute New Mexico USA To study lithography. Also, the Travel Award to study Print Workshops in Paris in 1988, and a Major Award from Down District Council in 1980.
He is represented in many collections worldwide like: Ulster Museum, London University, Oxford University, Cambridge University, University College Dublin, The Irish National Self-portrait Collection in the University of Limerick, Ulster Television, and the Department of the Environment.