Biography

In 1946 I was born into this work.

My father , John O'Connor , was the most gifted of the mid-20th Century British wood-engravers .

So the first images I saw presented the world in black ink on white paper , with lovingly observed nature , magical perspective and the lyric romance of life after war . And all through my childhood were printing presses , turpentine , beautiful girls , holidays in wild places - and , because he worked as an Art School principal , studios , artists and so on .

But between 50s Essex boarding-schools , the heady 60s in Newcastle university Fine Arts , and finally London , where I graduated through printing Hockney etchings - to the dole - to playing Ceilidh music..I had no temper for respectable professional life.  I moved to County Clare in 1973 , and immediately found it the most beautiful place in the world.

I knew then , 37 years ago, that worshipping it in colour linocuts would be my mission , but I was seldom able to turn to it , focusing rather on making a living.    27 of those years , until 2006 , were spent building a workshop business with my wife Lisa from Michigan [Celtic T-shirts , on the promenade at Lahinch ] and raising our 3 girls .   Then , encouraged by Richard Sharp and Katie Verling , and by my own family , I stayed home with the 1831 Albion Press acquired in 1991 , and renewed the thrill of landscape that can desert busy people .

For the last two years I have been  much taken up with a projected book on my father's work.He died at 90 in 2004, still painting and drawing , though unable to walk or to hear much .It seems that it was not until he was gone that I could bring myself to work in a similar field , though all through my life he was helpful and generous about art-work , materials , opportunities  aesthetic judgement and so on .