At a parents meeting in 1969 when I was eight years old, my junior school teacher Mrs.Knight asked my parents a searching question - Is anyone in your family artistic? Although intrigued they both could not recall anyone on either side of my family ever having any artistic ability and so could not throw light on why my teacher thought I had a creative streak. It is still a mystery to this day.
Although I was very average at most school subjects I relished the chance to paint and draw in the art classes. At a time when most teachers and pupils didn't take art classes very seriously I would arrive early for the lesson and make sure everyone had paper and pencils ready and all the powder paints were topped up and ready to go. This was so no painting time was wasted with children mucking around and I could enjoy a full afternoon being creative.
After leaving school I worked as a forklift truck driver for 10 years. During this time I worked part-time as a freelance card designer with major publishing companies until I finally had the confidence to go full time in 1990.
With only a certain amount of ability and being completely self-taught, I am proud to say that I have just celebrated my 20th year as a full-time professional artist. In that time I have worked and exhibited in New York, designed figurines in Thailand and ceramics for Wedgwood featuring one of my teddy bear characters.
I hope that this inspires others never to give up when times get tough and my story proves you really can make your dreams come true.