Ian Goncharov was born in Burnley Lancashire in 1975. He moved to Newcastle upon Tyne in 1996 to study painting at Northumbria University under Helen Baker, Sue Spark, Keith Mcintyre, Duncan Newton, Colin Smith, Clunie Reid, Emma Talbot, Louise Hopkins and Dexter Dalwood. After graduation Gonczarow remained in Newcastle, working on his Era painting series and in a variety of jobs as a freelance educator in the arts until 2006.

Goncharov re-located to London to study full time on the MFA Art practice at Goldsmiths College and continued to work as a teacher there in a local art school. On graduation Goncharov was awarded the Red Mansion residency in Beijing, The Wardens Purchase Prize and the Jealous Graduate Print Prize. He was also shortlisted for the Art Catlin Prize 2009. In 2009 Goncharov (with his wife) took a job in Moscow as a tutor on an art foundation course. He spent 3 years there and used his time to find a studio for the production of new work, curate a show of young British art for the yearly commercial fair Art Moscow, titled Translate/Transcribe, as well as validating and directing a BA (Hons) Fine Art course, the first course of its kind in the Russian Context.

Goncharov is currently based in Edinburgh and is the director of Painting at the End of the World a curatorial organisation dedicated to contemporary painting.