Guadel attended the College Bonaparte in Autun and the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées in Lyon, where he trained as a mechanical engineer, graduating in 1967.
Gaudel worked in petroleum exploration in Indonesia before he gave up his job and came to the United States in 1972 for an extended road trip and photo safari. He and a friend shipped a Volkswagen camper with its own dark room to New York and began driving. In Birmingham he met a French student who could arrange for a visit to Uruguay. During that visit, he met Rachel, whom he married in 1974, and the couple settled in Birmingham.
Gaudel began painting in the late 1970s, and took up oil painting seriously in 1981, winning a prize in a Greater Birmingham Arts Alliance exhibition and being featured in a show at Bob Moody Gallery. He turned to full-time art production in 1984. He started making sculpture in 1998 and currently he works mainly with digital media. He and Rachel built their own house on Warwick Drive on Red Mountain, utilizing large pre-cast masonry blocks. From 2004 to 2006 he constructed a wooden bi-plane, the Spiritus Tomas.
Gaudel's artwork is represented by Monty Stabler Galleries in Birmingham and at Le Mieux Galleries in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has been a featured artist for the Paint the Town Red art event benefitting the American Red Cross. The event has special meaning for him because his father, a former German prisoner-of-war, was a lifelong supporter of the Red Cross.
- Naman, Stephanie (June 2003) "The Art of the House: Artists Jean-Jacques and Rachel Gaudel created their unique home out of their vision of permanence and style". Birmingham magazine
- Riley, Cindy (March 2005) "Renaissance Man: Jean-Jacques Gaudel creates art that is both fantastic and surreal at his home in Birmingham". Birmingham magazine
- Harvey, Alec (April 10, 2011) "Digital art show in downtown Birmingham to Paint the Town Red." Birmingham News