Saturday 16 December 2017

Ever wanted to pack it all in and pursue your passion? Meet the man who did

Seán Curran swapped a life in construction for life as an artist

Seán Curran (54) left his full time job working in construction industry to become a painter
Seán Curran (54) left his full time job working in construction industry to become a painter

Zainab Boladale

Most people have toyed with the idea of packing it all in and pursing their passion project, but one Dublin native actually made the leap.

After 36 years in the construction industry, Seán Curran (54) hung up his work boots to pursue a new career as a painter.

“Three months ago I decided to become a painter. I don’t want to turn around at the age of 70 wishing I could have,” he told

Growing up in Rathcoole, Co Dublin, he did an apprenticeship in the construction trade which allowed him to progress in his chosen industry, however, his love of painting in the watercolour medium has always lingered since he was a young boy.

One Sean Curran's paintings
One Sean Curran's paintings

At 25 years old, he emigrated to Canada where he became exposed to a range of North American watercolour artists that he was inspired by.

“While living in Canada I actually went to a art college at night,” he said.

This allowed him to work a regular day job whilst also discovering more about his passion.

After three years of study, he was invited to display his work in an exhibition in Burlington, Ontario. At the end of the exhibition, the gallery owner proposed to publish two of his paintings into limited edition print and both prints proved to be popular in Canada.

When Seán moved back to Ireland, he settled in Kildare. His focus quickly shifted to getting his family established and being a parent to his children.

“Art took a back seat once again,” he said.

While he was juggling the responsibilities of being a father and a partner, he still painted in his free time but described the industry in Ireland as a very “difficult space to break into”.

Despite this, in 2007 he was invited to stage an exhibition in Wexford and was also invited to exhibit his work in Cork University Hospital.

Seán said that what really pushed him to take the risk and make it his full time career was his wife.

She advised him to “have a go at it for 12 months”.

When he was doubting his choice he thinks of a friend who once told him, “no one ever regrets what they do in life, it’s the things they didn’t do”.

After such a radical change what advice does he have for people thinking about a similar move?

"Give it a go without compromising your family's welfare, belief in yourself," she said.

Finance was an issue he worried about but he's fully prepared for if it doesn’t work out.

 “I have a teaching qualification I can always use," he said.

But for now the happiness he gets from producing a new piece, from doing what he’s always wanted to do with his life, “there's no substitution for that feeling” he said.

On June 25 Seán “one man show exhibition” will be held at the gallery in Straffan Antiques and Design, Barberstown. A selection of his work can be found on

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