Richard Menard was born in Edmonton, Alberta on December 19th, 1963. His early artistic expressions were in two-dimensional form. Drawn to ‘black and white’ landscape photography, Richard spent extensive time as a youth photographing the river valleys near his home in Edmonton, Alberta.
After moving to Vancouver, BC, in 1985, he began painting abstract landscapes in acrylics, working in large (4’ x 5’) canvases. When visiting Tofino, BC, in 1987, he tried his hand at carving and discovered his passion. The very day after Richard’s return to Vancouver, he met renowned First Nations carver, Frances Horne, who befriended Richard and guided him through his first pieces.
In 1990, Richard moved to Tofino to work alongside renowned carver, Henry Nolla, who had apprenticed and worked extensively with Roy Henry Vickers. Working with Henry Nolla, Richard refined his carving and tool-making techniques.
Here on the West Coast, Richard worked as a naturalist marine guide for many years. The phenomenal wildlife and natural beauty of the Pacific marine environment found its way into his work, particularly his soapstone pieces which feature Gray Whales, Humpbacks, Orcas and Bald Eagles.
Richard’s work has been greatly influenced by First Nations art, the lines and form. The strong tradition of First Nations carvers on the West Coast, particularly Nuuchalnuth, has provided great inspiration and teaching.
Another influence has been the unfolding of Richard’s spiritual life and practice. In the early1990’s he was introduced to meditation and the self-realization teachings of Parmahansa Yogananda. During this time, Richard attended an international meditation institute in India to develop his meditation and yoga practice, which remains central to his daily life.
“In our modern world, a great many of us experience a daily bombardment of noise, imagery and over-stimulation. I want to create art that invites the viewer to contemplate, breathe and feel at peace.” Richard Menard