Born April 29, 1937 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He was the son of the local medicine woman, who didn't let him go to school. In 1951 he won first place in a show for young artists in Guadalajara. It is then that he started working with Jorge Martinez, artist who collaborated with Jose Clemente Orozco. In 1957 he started at the Escuela de Artes y Letras de Guadalajara. This was followed by travels in the rich jungles of Jalisco and Nayarit where he made worked primarily on landscapes.
In 1961 he began studying at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plasticas with Antonio Rodriguez Luna. It is during these years in Mexico City that he won several important prizes such as Nuevos Valores in 1963). In 1964 he was inducted into the Salon de la Plastica Mexicana, and in the late 60's he was recognized as one of the architects of the Magic Realism style that was to predominate in the Mexican School of painting for the next several decades. His first solo show was at the Misrachi Gallery in Mexico City in 1969, from which followed many exhibitions in South America, Europe and the US.
In 1970 he was awarded the First Prize in printmaking at the Tokio Biennal in Japan. Javier Arevalo also taught at La Esmeralda and the Academia de San Carlos and his works are part of important collections such as the Metropolitan Museum in NYC, and the Museums of Modern Art of Lugano, Israel and Mexico City. In 1990 there was a retrospective exhibition of his work at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, a feat accomplished by few living artists.