Richard Merchán is a visual artist born in La Concepción, Venezuela. The youngest of five siblings and son of the small-town doctor, his upbringing was influenced by more traditional European values. Artistic education in Latin America was neither nurtured nor taught. The prevailing attitude was that Picasso was an “episode” in life that had already passed. Despite that, Merchán began drawing as a young boy, and at 14 he migrated to Miami with his family.
Following high school and college in Florida, Merchán was accepted into the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1976. There, he experienced a different America: four distinct climates, dramatic seasons and more artistic inspiration. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Merchán returned to Miami to begin a career as a commercial artist in 1978. Illustration and magazine publishing would become his financial staple for the next several decades.
In 1984 Merchán realized a need to more fully experience the world of fine art. With just $500, his acoustic guitar and a Coleman cooler filled with art supplies, he moved to New York City. Having access to major museums and galleries was the catalyst to launch Merchán’s passion for painting.
In 1987, Merchán moved to San Francisco where he now lives and works. He was intrigued by the Mediterranean-like West Coast light. The way the light reflected required him to begin using a different color palette along with revised techniques and subject matters. Merchán’s influencers now began to include post impressionism, fauvism and expressionism. Narratives depicting sensuous figures, portraits, interiors and floral compositions, leaning toward vibrant colors are reflected in his work.
Merchán brings his broad multicultural experience to today – where his artwork culminates in rich imagery, painterly strokes, and colors reminiscent of the iconic French painters. As an emerging artist, Merchán has held several solo exhibitions and galleries on both East and West coasts represent his work.