Mario Finlayson was born in Gibraltar on the 15th March 1927. He was evacuated with his family to the United Kingdom in 1939 upon the outbreak of the Second World War, where they lived firstly in London and then in Northern Island, until their repatriation in 1944. Although his education was severely interrupted by the war, Mario showed a commitment to art during these years away, taking his first commission as a young teenager during his evacuation in Ballymena.
Mario continued to make a name for himself as an artist in Gibraltar throughout the 1950s and 60s, successfully entering his work in painting competitions, but his dream had always been to teach art. To this end, he was awarded a scholarship to study art in the United Kingdom at the Slade School of Art (1966-67). This was followed by a one-year art teaching course at the West of England College of Art.
Upon his return to Gibraltar Mario commenced his work as an art teacher, becoming Head of the Art Department at the Girls Grammar School and later at the Girls Comprehensive School.
Mario has always maintained a high profile in the artistic and cultural scene in Gibraltar, is a former member of the Gibraltar Cultural Advisory Board and has been at the helm of the Arts Centre for the last thirty years, giving art classes an welcoming all forms of artistic expression.