I was born in 1960 in Mombasa, Kenya. My family emigrated to Canada when I was three; we settled in Penticton, which is where I started making art. As a child, I did lots of drawing and "art" but when I was a teenager I read about Vincent van Gogh which inspired in me the notion to be an artist. During my teen years I hiked in the hills behind our house with my box of paints, creating small landscapes.

I attended the University of Victoria from 1978 to 1982, earning a B.F.A., having majored in visual arts. It was at university that I started creating three-dimensional figures, initially made out of paper. In 1982 I travelled for six months in Europe, spending most of my time in art museums. The experience of Renaissance, Baroque, Realist, Impressionist and Expressionist art seen in all its glory had a great impact on me and has shaped my art a great deal. However, I am aware I am living in a modern era and seek contemporary influences on my artwork as well, such as the work of Lucian Freud, Ed Kienholz, Jasper Johns and Eric Fischl.

In 1983 I joined Xchanges and have been involved with the co-operative ever since. In 1986 I travelled in parts of North America. I spent a period of time in New York, visiting its museums and galleries and learning. Also, in 1986 I married Linda (as depicted in my work "The Artist's Wife"), and we now have two daughters - Akasha ("Friends") and Meliah ("Princess").

I love the art traditions I saw in my travels but my art must go beyond those traditions. I read extensively in books on past and contemporary art in order to challenge my ideas of my art, but I also feel strongly that my painting must be rooted in my life, beliefs and thoughts.

Richard Motchman