Mario Merola was born in 1931 and studied at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal from 1946 to 1952. During this period, he developed an interest in decoration with the painter Maurice Raymond. In 1952, he studied set design at the École supérieure des arts décoratifs de Paris. He later spent time at the Place des arts studio before being hired as a costume designer at Radio-Canada. Starting in 1957, Merola produced murals integrated with architectural projects— including the Canadian pavilion at the Brussels World Fair and the Sherbrooke and Charlevoix metro stations in Montréal— and actively campaigned for the professional recognition of artists. Over the course of his career, Merola taught at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal (1959–69) and at the Université du Québec à Montréal (1969–92). He has been a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts since 1967.