From as early as five years of age, I remember very vividly being drawn to art and was very fortunate that my parents were acquainted with Trevor Scott.

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.

Nothing had prepared me for the public’s reaction. Until then I had a captive audience of family, friends and fellow shipmates, therefore a favourable bias for my work was inevitable, which was indeed flattering but not very constructive.

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.