Born in Kerry in 1977, Tony O’Connor studied Fine Art at Crawford College of Art & Design where he also gained his Higher Diploma in Art Education. Presently, Tony can be found working at his Cork-based studio, creating ever-evolving pieces of equine art.
Tony is proudly connected with the Irish Horse Welfare Trust, having designed their Christmas cards for the previous three years. He is also currently involved with Redwings Equine Charity in the United Kingdom.
Some of Tony's earliest memories are those of his grand-uncle, Mossie, working in his dark smoke-filled forge, shoeing local horses and ponies. Standing on the shoulders of six generations of Blacksmiths, the horse and the beauty of its majestic form and spirit are the basis of Tony’s work. What better subject for artistic expression than one which embodies such power, grace, strength and nobility?
No two individuals, can see or feel these paintings in the same way. How we perceive them, depends not so much on what is before our eyes, but moreso the life experiences that lie behind them. “In my horse’s eyes I see the reflected image of my own worth” (Debra Coppinger Hill). There lies gentleness, a warmth, a sense of power and knowledge in the eyes. No matter how bleak or dark the context may be, there is that element of hope, a spark of emotion that draws you into the peace – sometimes sadness, loneliness, defiance, courage, bravery – a strength of spirit.
Tony has a disciplined approach in his study of horse anatomy, and puts a great emphasis on technical execution. As with much of his work, the void of background and simplicity of the pieces serve to highlight the natural physical perfection of these animals. Anyone who appreciates classic elegance cannot but be drawn in.