As a child, Steve O'Connell loved to paint and draw and from a young age was always determined to have a career as an artist.
Born and raised in Islington, London, the son of hardworking Irish parents, Steve would paint commissions for neighbours and school friends and was fascinated with painting but was unfortunately not supported by his school who advised him to join the army!
Unable to afford to go to Art College, Steve taught himself to paint and draw in various media, including oil, pastel and pencil and by learning from artist's instruction manuals and self-teaching books from his local library.
Having to leave school at age sixteen, Steve had to get work to help support the family as his father had left home and money was in short supply. Steve managed to get a job as a junior commercial artist but found this work unfulfilling and creatively suffocating.
Eventually he left and managed to start his own company selling his original paintings at London's famous Apple Market in the heart of Covent Garden where he still has a stall to this day.
Steve started by selling drawings of animals and other subjects but was more inspired by ballerinas he had met at the Royal Opera House, home of the Royal Ballet which is nearby. Steve paid his models with paintings and sketches of themselves.
Steve O'Connell has gone from strength to strength over the past fifteen years and is now recognised as one of the worlds leading painters of dance and his work is collected worldwide and is constantly working on new work all the time.
Steve has also designed dancewear for some of the worlds leading companies and has recently launched his own range of fashion dancewear featuring his own hand painted designs.
Steve O'Connell is a perfect example that through perseverance and self-belief you can achieve your life ambitions if you really want to.
Steve is in Covent Garden every Sunday if you would like to meet him in person. He lives in Hertfordshire, England.