Ria Firth was born in Virginia, United States to a mother biologist and a father aviator and jack-of-all-trades. She spent much of her youth playing with her brother and dog in the wooded foothills of the Appalachian mountains. There she developed intimate bonds with the living forms and characters found in the forest. And there her inspiration for painting emerged and was nourished.

In college, Ria studied art and social anthropology at the University of Mary Washington, Virginia. She was awarded the Rosalie Chauncey Memorial scholarship to study art in Paris, France, where she became an official copyist at the Louvre. She has received numerous other awards for her work, including the Emil Schnellock Award for Excellence in Painting. Her work has been shown multiple countries.

In 2021 she obtained a masters in social anthropology and ethnology at the EHESS, Paris where her studies integrated the disparate processes of social sciences, natural sciences and the arts. The current focus of Ria’s artistic practice interweaves the notions of wilderness and control. Recognizable or perceptible human figures and structures are shown coinciding with and coexisting in undetermined green spaces and vegetal worlds.