Rich Johnson was born in Ashington and was brought up in north Northumberland.
He studied English Literature and History and then at a loss for what else to do studied it a bit more. He then dithered about a bit and eventually fell into teaching, an act of desperation in the West Midlands which continued for ten years.
He moved back to the Scottish Borders in order to paint and draw.
He is married to Laura Johnson, artist and jewellery maker. He still teaches and can occasionally be seen drawing on the windows of the Coldstream Gallery, although not always in a suit.