Scott was the founder of the renowned College of Art and Design in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. The most vivid childhood memory that I can recall is one of me sitting on Scott’s living room floor with a huge sheet of paper while he tutored me on figurative drawing. I believe these moments were the first steps, which steered me towards exploring my creativity.
Far from my family, Navy life was a great awakening and taught me about many aspects of life that I had not yet experienced. Figuratively speaking, having ‘cut the apron strings’ myself at a young age, the Irish Navy, a disciplined and respected institution, gave me a new purpose and a sense of destiny. Once I had established myself as a naval diver, while at sea I began to paint. At that time, I had the great fortune of having a unique perspective of Irish landscapes and seascapes as seen from the Atlantic Ocean.
As Chief Petty Officer, I sailed on the inaugural voyage of LE Eithne Naval ship to the 1986 Statue of Liberty Centennial celebrations in New York. This trip marked a significant turning pointing my career as I was given the opportunity to exhibit a selection of my originals on the ship at an official reception on its’ arrival into New York. The response from a mixed audience of fellow Naval Officers, Irish American dignitaries and other State officials was very favourable.
It was obvious that I had talent but I never exposed my art to the intellectual processes and conclusions of art critics and reviewers. In hindsight, my innocence and youthful naivety allowed that I didn’t analyse or fully realize the implications of what I was about to endeavour.
By my very nature, I’m an opportunist, so I was determined to test the possibilities and the potential of my art in the marketplace. My vision was to use my art to develop a print collection thereby allowing me to further pursue my desire to become a full-time artist and at the same time secure the source through which I could channel my work.
Many thought I was crazy to sacrifice a healthy pension fund with only a few years left in the Navy to complete my twenty-one years of service. Nevertheless I chose the road less travelled and, despite the everyday stresses of running a business on top of being a fulltime artist, I’ve never looked back.