Joseph Sydney Hallam was born in 1898 in Manchester, England and immigrated to Canada with his family at the age of twelve. He studied at the Hamilton Technical School and Toronto Central Technical School. He also took evening classes in anatomy at the Ontario College of Art under J.W. Beatty and private figure classes under Varley.
Hallam taught ‘costume figure’ in the evenings at the Ontario College of Art from 1940-1945.
Hallam career and focus was as an illustrator. He joined Sampson-Matthews Limited in 1921, creating posters, displays, and illustrations. Hallam sketched often with Franklin Carmichael, with whom he worked at Sampson-Matthews. His work was reproduced by Sampson-Matthews in 1943 as part of the National Gallery’s plan to furnish scenes of Canada for Canadian armed forces throughout the world.
In 1925, Hallam won first prize in an international poster competition. The competition was conducted by the Poster Advertising Association, Chicago, U.S.A. His work was reproduced on billboards throughout North America.
Hallam’s has exhibited at the Canadian National Exhibition, the Canadian Society of Painters, Laing Galleries, in Toronto, the Roberts Gallery in, and the Art Gallery of Windsor.
Hallam won the J.W.L. Forster Award in 1947 and the Art Directors Club Medal in 1950. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy (ARCA–1943, RCA–1950), the Ontario Society of Artists (Member–1932, President–1948), and the Arts and Letters Club, Toronto (1935).
Hallam’s work is found in numerous public collections including The National Gallery of Canada, the collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the late Pope Pius XII, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Public Library and Art Museum in London, Ontario.
He died in 1953.