Eric Fischl received a B.F.A. in 1972 from the California Institute of the Arts. After graduation he moved to Chicago, where he worked as a guard at the Museum of Contemporary Art. In 1974, he got a job teaching painting at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. There he met his future wife, the painter April Gornik. In 1978 they moved to New York City, where they continue to live and work.