Joe Plaskett was born in New Westminster, BC in 1918. He attended Sir Richard McBride Primary School at Sapperton, then the Duke of Connaught Secondary School in New Westminster. It was there he began to copy paintings and work from nature and his imagination. Later, Plaskett entered the University of British Columbia (UBC) where he earned an Honours B.A. in History, graduating with first class honours in 1939. Plaskett attended teachers college at UBC and after graduation taught in British Columbia for five years, first at North Shore College, North Vancouver then at Coquitlam High School.
Plaskett attended the Vancouver School of Art from 1940 to 1942, and the Banff Summer School in 1944 with A.Y. Jackson. The following year he became a member of the BC Society of Artists and won a bronze medal for work in pastel. In 1946, Plaskett was awarded an Emily Carr Scholarship, which enabled him to study at the California School of Fine Art in San Francisco under William Gaw, David Park, Clay Spohn and Clyfford Still. Plaskett became principal of the Winnipeg School of Art in 1947, then resigned in 1949 in order to have more time to paint. He then left for Paris where he studied with Fernand Léger, Jean Lombard and Marzelle. The following summer he toured the British Isles, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Venice and Paris. In 1951 he moved to London, England to study at the Slade School with a bursary awarded by the British Arts Council.
At the end of 1951 he returned to New Westminster and exhibited his work at the Vancouver Art Gallery. He taught nights at the Vancouver School of Art in 1952-53. He returned to Paris in 1953 with the assistance of a Canadian Government Overseas Scholarship to study etching and engraving with Stanley Hayter. He returned to Canada in 1956 and took a teaching post with the Extension Department of the University of British Columbia. In 1956, he taught at the Vancouver School of Art and in Emma Lake, Saskatchewan. He returned to Paris in 1957 to become a full-time painter, free from any teaching duties. In 1967, he was awarded a Canada Council fellowship to paint places across Canada. When he returned to Paris in 1971, an exhibition, Joe Plaskett and his Paris - In Search of Time Past, was organized and shown at the Fine Arts Gallery of the University of British Columbia and was then circulated across Canada through the auspices of the Extension Services of the National Gallery of Canada.
Galerie Walter Klinkhoff, Montreal: 1973, 1976, 1979, 1983, 1986, 1992, 1997, 2001.
Vancouver Art Gallery, British Columbia: 1940, 1943, 1952,1956.
University of British Columbia Art Gallery, Vancouver: 1952, 1960, 1971.
Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1952.
Coste House, Calgary, Alberta, 1953.
Picture Loan Society, Toronto: 1953, 1958, 1960.
Holy Trinity Memorial Hall, New Westminster, 1956.
New Design Gallery, Vancouver: 1960, 1963, 1965.
Brandon Art Centre, Manitoba: 1960, 1968.
Waddington Gallery, Montreal, 1960.
New Westminster Public Library, 1961.
Robertson Gallery, Ottawa: 1963, 1965, 1967, 1970, 1973.
Griffith Galleries, Vancouver, 1968.
New Brunswick University Art Centre, Fredericton, 1968.
Fleet Gallery, Winnipeg, 1970.
Jerrold Morris Gallery, Toronto, 1970.
Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver: 1974, 1975, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1992, 1995.
Burnaby Art Gallery, British Columbia, 1976.
Kelowna Art Gallery, British Columbia, 1976.
Topham Brown Gallery, Vernon, British Columbia, 1977.
Lefebvre Gallery, Edmonton, 1977.
Wallack Gallery, Ottawa: 1977, 1981, 1985, 1992.
Centre Culturel Canadien, Paris, 1978.
Bau-Xi Gallery, Toronto: 1980, 1981, 1983, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1995.
Gallery 78, Fredericton: 1981, 1983, 1987.
Galerie Le Robinson, Paris, 1984.
University of Victoria, Maltwood Gallery, 1984.
Centres Culturel Canadien, Paris et Bruxelles, 1985.