This month is team member Stephen Mahoney from ICon Art.
Stephen is a portrait painter based in Liverpool. His shop features incredible paintings of iconic people, events and scenes!
1. You clearly have an incredible talent for painting. How did you first get in to painting and can you remember the first portrait you did?
I first got into painting by accident, in April 2013. I was working for BT at the time and I got into a bad habit of spending my most of wages playing online poker when I got home. I decided I needed a hobby instead so I went to hobbycraft in Warrington to buy an Airfix kit (which i used to love as a kid, although my dad always put the aeroplanes together and painted them for me ha!).
Anyway, while I was there I saw an "acrylic paint starter set" for £20 and thought I'd try that instead!
It came with all the essentials plus 3 mini canvases, so that very night I began to paint one, attempting a Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko from Wall Street portrait (which I was watching at the time).
The last time I painted anything before then was GCSE Art in school back in '94 so it was all rather new and of course when it was finished, looked NOTHING like Michael Douglas but i enjoyed the creative process immensely and from then on I was hooked!
2. In February 2016 you became a full time, self employed portrait painter. Was this something you ever imagined would happen when you picked up the paintbrush in 2013?
Quite simply, no. It was purely an escape, a distraction. I had no ambition at all regarding art or painting when I started off!
|Amy Winehouse Print from Original Painting|
My favourite item in my Etsy shop now is definitely my Donnie Darko inspired original painting. I love it because it just reminds me of being back in school, having crushes on some of the girls and all the excitement of first having those kind of feelings and plucking up the courage to ask them out! I also think it's one of the few pieces I've created where it stands up on its own as a nice piece of art, you don't have to know what its from or who they are to appreciate its beauty.
|Donnie Darko Original Painting|
How do you find hearing customers reactions to your work in person?
I find the art and craft fairs ok and I get compliments quite often which is nice but because my work is so specific, these compliments only occasionally convert into sales.
I've known for a while now that I have to become less stubborn in terms of what I want to paint as opposed to what will sell if I'm to make a good living from this game. The next event I am at is on Sunday 18th Sept at Lark Lane Old Police Station, Liverpool 11am-5pm.
5. Do you have any advice for any other creatives wanting to turn a hobby into something more?
The only advice I can give is, if you have the passion and the belief and you can envision your future..GO FOR IT! But PREPARE and PLAN.
I had the passion early on but I was sensible - I carried on working full-time whilst honing my skills and I saved every spare penny I could so that I had a decent amount to live on for a few months if I decided to take the plunge (which I inevitably did). We only live once! If it fails, we can always go back to 'regular' work can't we?
If you fancy seeing Stephens work up close and in person, he will be at Lark Lane Old Police Station on Sunday 18th September from 11am - 5pm!
Huge thanks to Stephen for taking the time to be featured this month and share his stories!
You can find Stephen's shop and social media links here: