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Bernard Stanley Hoyes was born in Kingston, Jamaica. From the early age of nine his mother sold his woodcarvings and watercolors to visitors to the Tourist Board in Kingston to help maintain the household and support his creative efforts.
He took his first art class at the Junior Art Center at the Institute of Jamaica and continued his art education when he migrated to New York, to live with his father, attending evening classes at the Art Student League. There he matured as a painter and sculptor under the tutelage of established artists like Norman Lewis and Hughie Lee Smith. He received a Ford Foundation scholarship to study with professional artists in a Summer Arts program at Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Vermont, and later, for two years to complete the program.