David Tycho was born in Vancouver in 1959, and went on to study painting under renowned Canadian artist Gordon Smith at the University of British Columbia, where in 1983 David received a degree in Visual Arts Education. After working through a number of Modernist styles, he arrived at his personal interpretation of figurative expressionism, which remained his focus until moving to Asia in 1984.
In Japan, David was particularly intrigued by the calligraphy of Zen monks, whose fluid, gestural brushwork often rendered the characters illegible, and ultimately abstract. At the same time, he was also inspired by the paintings of Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning, and David soon began to explore abstraction for himself.
In 1990, David began working through a number of abstract styles: from gestural, painterly expressionism, to hard-edged minimalism.
In 1995, David began making treks into wilderness areas of North America, from the austere deserts of Nevada and California to the coastal rainforests of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Forms and colours of the natural environment found their way onto his palette, and, in combination with intuitive aesthetic impulses, the resulting works were a synthesis of landscape painting and abstraction. This remained David's source of inspiration and painting process for many years, and he continues to revisit the theme periodically.
A trip to Asia in 2011 rekindled David’s interest in Japanese art, and his 2012 exhibition “The Japan Series” is inspired and informed by this. His reacquaintance with the dynamism of Tokyo has spawned an interest in urban themes and motifs, resulting in his more recent "Urban Rhapsody", "Metropolis" and "Station to Station" series. In addition to this, he is experimenting with abstract images and mixed media techniques.
Tycho's inclusion in the 2014 "Paint the City Project", during which his paintings appeared on 22 giant digital billboards in the Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal areas for one month, was a new format for bringing his art out of galleries and onto the streets. His works also frequently appear on movie and television sets.
Over the past 25 years, David has exhibited his work in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Seattle, Los Angeles, Brussels, Geneva, Singapore and Manila, and his work is collected worldwide. He has also donated a number of paintings to non-profit organizations, institutions and charities, including Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, and Unite with Art, a Vancouver auction to raise money for UNICEF.
In addition to painting, David is an often-published writer of articles and book contributions on art, social issues, travel and the wilderness, and he was the winner of a Canadian Literary Award for a personal essay on Nevada’s Great Basin Desert. He frequently appears on radio and television and in print media.
David now divides his time between painting, writing, travelling, cycling, hiking and karate. He currently lives and works in Vancouver.