Not many 17-year-olds have an idea of what they want to do for a future career.
But after a brave life decision, Conor Weedon, from Warnham, has high hopes to make a long term living from his passion for art.
“I left college last year because I picked terrible options for myself, ” explained Conor .
“I went for economics, psychology , law and Chemistry. I really liked chemistry but by the end of the year I dropped all the other subjects because I found them way too stressful and they weren’t at all what I wanted
“I figured out quite quickly after I chose the subjects that art was the way I wanted to go, yet I didn’t see it as a viable choice, just a hobby,” he added.
“But I realised people can actually make a living out of art so I star ted working on commissions.”
As well having an artistic flair on his mother’s side of the family, the teenager’s interest in art started around the age of four when he began drawing and using colouring books, perfectly keeping in all the lines.
However, it wasn’t until he took the subject for GCSE at Tanbridge House School, in Horsham, two years ago that he began drawing portraits.
“I drew a lot of famous people and when school ended I decided to carry on and over time learned tricks to get better ,” he said.
“I’ve been trying to figure out my own styles. I’ve gone through about five [styles], like minimalist and minimalist on black paper with white pencil. Then I went through a bit of paint in GCSE. There are a lot of different styles but for now I’m doing basic portraiture.”
From Will Smith, Jessica Alba and Keira Knightley to the cast from The Walking Dead, each of Conor’s portraits are instantly recognisable and packed full of detail - and none more so than his recent and favourite piece of Natalie Portman.
Taking around 20 hours to complete, Conor sketched the piece of the American actress in an unconventional way by working upwards and perfecting each area as he went.
“Figuring out where to start is the most difficult part of it, ” he laughed. “I kind of go through phases of star ting on different parts.
“When I first started I would draw the outline of the face and start with the mouth, then the nose and eyes and do the overall shape.
“Now I pick something like the neck or chin line and work my way up, but it changes quite often, ” he continued.
“Up until recently I hated doing the eyes. Now I really like doing it because I can see my progress.”
The artist Conor says first got him interested in portraiture was Ileana Hunter from Norwich, who is well-known for her minimal hyper -realism.
Aside from the sketches, Conor came across a company on the internet which buy the right to make minimalist or alternative movie posters, which they sell in shops.
After becoming a fan of the style and the way they’re made, he thought he’d give it a go to give him a break from drawing.
“I thought it would be easier but it’s not, it’s more difficult, ” he revealed. “I’ve got a graphics tablet that’s like an iPad, but without the screen, and you just use a pen and draw on it and it comes up on the screen.
“You have to be looking up while you’re drawing so it’s difficult. It’s like drawing on a piece of paper when you’re looking somewhere else – I’m still trying to figure my way around it.”
Concentrating on the portraits for now, the self-acclaimed perfectionist has sold around five or six pieces through Facebook and word of mouth, with requests mainly to draw family members and pets of friends.
“I’m trying to hold off getting a proper job for as long as I can by getting more and more commissions. The goal is to never have a proper job and have this as my job,” explains Conor.
Proud mum Ali first noticed her son’s talent when he brought home his finished painted piece of singer Tinie Tempah, at the age of 15.
“I’m in awe, totally in awe,” beamed the 48-year-old. “I do art myself but I could never do anything like that. I don’t think I’d have the patience, stamina or ability .
“I’m also immensely proud of his bravery for turning his back on the standard route, which is scar y for him and scary for us.
“But there are other things you can do and I just want him to be happy and to make a comfortable living from something he’s so passionate about.
“You don’t have to be rich and famous as long as you’re getting by ,” she added.
“Rich and famous would be good though,” Conor grinned.
For more of Conor’s work, find him on Facebook at ‘CW Artist’, visit cw-posters.deviantart.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org