Ayrshire artist Steven Brown visited Ayrshire College students at the Kilwinning Campus to inspire them to follow their dreams.
Students on the PEZ Plus have often had negative experiences of formal education, and together with students on the Step Into Employment (Youth Work) course they heard Steven talk about his rise from a career in retail to becoming one of Scotland’s most recognised artists.
The PEZ Plus course aims to equip students with the essential skills, confidence and motivation to progress on to mainstream courses at the College.
Irvine-based artist Steven Brown was generous with his time as he spoke to the group about his art, his new gallery opening in Ayr and his new children’s book Harris McCoo & The Rainbow Haggis, but also about the challenges he has faced throughout his life.
The students were amazed to find out that Steven’s path to the top has involved two heart attacks and dealing with depression. Steven told the group that having a positive attitude and caring people around you can help you to get anywhere in life.
At the end of Steven’s talk he spoke to each of the students individually to hear about their aspirations, encouraging them to aim for a career that they will enjoy doing.
Steven said: “Whenever I speak to a group of pupils or students, my only hope is that at least one person takes something from what I’ve talked about. I loved speaking to the students there. I’m telling them my story but I want to know from them - what’s your story? For instance one of the female students in there was talking to me about her own artwork, so hopefully she can develop into a prospering young artist.
“You’ve got to be positive in life. I’ve always loved art. You never, ever think that you can go into something that you love and make a living from it. It’s a dream come true. I’m totally blessed and I never forget that.”
Steven Fegan, employability and engagement officer at Ayrshire College, said “I met Steven at an exhibition he was sponsoring within the maritime museum and with a short conversation around the HIVE, Steven agreed to come in and speak to the group. It was great for the young people to see that with the right attitude and application, their dreams aren’t too far out of their reach. We all have different experiences in life and these experiences shape our outlook and our view of potential.
“What we are trying to do is provide experiences in order to broaden that outlook and view, and Steven’s visit and talk went some way to doing that!”