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Brian O'Connor

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Brian O'Connor

American, born 1958

I'm from Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I grew up with my big dumb brother, Sean, and my school teacher parents, John and Claiborne. After graduating from Del Norte High School in 1976, I attended the University of New Mexico on a wrestling scholarship for two years, before transferring to the Centro Andino in Quito, Ecuador, where classroom studies suddenly seemed irrelevant. During a year in Ecuador and Peru, searching for mushrooms and divinity, I began to make art, something I continued to do during the two years of working throughout the western United States that followed. Construction work financed my returned to UNM where I graduated in 1983 with a B.F.A., a degree which I have found immensely useful in securing the various lucrative positions that I've held during the last twenty years from gutting salmon in Kenai, Alaska, to milking cows in Las Nutrias, New Mexico, to hanging sheet rock, iron working and steel framing everywhere in the universe. But throughout, I've painted and shown professionally in galleries and museums across the country, receiving a Western States NEA Fellowship in 1990 and having solo shows in Santa Fe, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, and New York. I've lectured at universities as a visiting guest artist, conducted painting workshops from San Diego to Santa Fe, and I teach a regular painting gig at the Harwood Art Center in Albuquerque. I live with my wife, artist Iva Morris, and our two children, Lillian and Garrett, in the small farming community of Las Nutrias in the south central Rio Grande valley of New Mexico.