Sean with Hollywood A-lister Sylvester Stallone

'When I got sick I spent a lot of time in bed and film and TV helped keep me sane.'

A FILM fanatic from Dunshaughlin who uses art to cope with a chronic pain condition that leaves him bed-bound has had his work signed by some of Hollywood’s biggest A-list stars including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Mike Tyson.

Movie buff Sean Purcell (47) who creates art pieces focused on iconic 80s films says that TV and film are a huge part of his life especially since being diagnosed with Chronic Neuropathic Pain that often results in him being unable to leave the house.

“I always had an interest in art but family and work commitments took my life in a different direction so I ended up giving it up for 20 years. I only started again when I turned 40. I have a big appreciation for film and TV and how they are made behind the scenes. When I got sick, I spent a lot of time in bed and film and TV helped keep me sane.

“One of the first pieces I took on was an ‘Only Fools and Horses’ montage. I met all the cast who signed the piece. I met Sir David Jason at a function in London very briefly. One day I arrived at Pinewood Studios and I walked into the reception with the painting under my arm. The woman at reception saw the painting and made a phone call to the ‘Open All Hours’ set.


Former Governor of California and ‘Terminator’ star Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Sir David’s PA said I am going to have to show this to David it would be a travesty if he didn’t sign it so sure enough he brought it away and Sir David signed it. An hour later I got a phone call asking if I would like to join them for the live recording of ‘Open All Hours.’ It turned out to be the last ever live recording to be made in Pinewood Studios, they were knocking the building the next morning so I ended up being a part of history.”

Sean’s diagnoses has had a devastating effect on his life but he is determined not to let it stop him from doing what he loves.


Boxer Mike Tyson with the Dunshaughlin artist’s montage tribute.

“Becoming ill in recent years has slowed me up greatly because I spend a lot of time in bed. I lost the power in my arms and shortly after that, pain developed mainly in my upper body then eventually it went into my legs and all over. I was in a very dark place because I thought I’m that ill it’s lights out, I’m literally dying here. There is no cure it’s just pain management.

I eventually got involved with Chronic Pain Ireland and read one of TV presenter Andrea Hayes books on how she copes with the condition and that mentally lifted me and helped me along.

“If I’m doing a painting I have to load up on medication to try and get through it but I pay the price, I could be bed-bound for a week after. Sometimes it amplifies the pain and other times because I am focusing on what I am trying to create, it takes me away from reality.”

The Dunshaughlin artist say that networking and his social media platform for his work is what got him up close and personal with so many A-list stars,

The film Fan with Idris Elba

 “I have made a lot of connections through networking and people who have seen my work on social media.

“I was invited to a charity black-tie event in Cardiff recently where Arnold Schwarzenegger was making an appearance. He is a childhood hero of mine. I got a photo with him, to even be in the same room as him was amazing. One of the organisers saw the painting and he started calling people over and said Arnie has to see this. So they took it to him and he signed it.

“At another event, I asked Sylvester Stallone if he would sign my painting and he said yes but again security was stepping in and trying to not let it happen but he did it. He was such a nice guy”

“Mike Tyson was in Dublin for a talk late last year and I showed his team my painting. The next morning they contacted me and said Mike wants to see you. We drove to his hotel and they took me up to his room. Actually meeting him in the flesh was something else. The only downside was his handshake, I don’t think I could feel my hand for about three days!


Sean’s ‘ Only Fools and Horses’ montage signed by the cast.

“Tyson really liked it because I included his trainer Cus D’Amato who adopted him when he was very troubled and took him under his wing and made him the world champion. When he passed away Tyson’s life went on a downward spiral. Cus D’Amato meant everything as a father figure to Tyson, the fact that I included him in the painting struck a chord.

“I travelled to Hollywood to meet Linda Blair, the star child of the original 1973 Exorcist movie and she also signed my piece. Sean is not finished with celebrity montages yet with his sights already set on his next big star,

“I’m working on something at the minute but I can’t say too much if it works out it will be amazing, watch this space. I just take each day as it comes, I have to because I just don’t know how I am going to be hour to hour. My big thing is focusing on gratitude. In all that’s wrong and how it has limited me, it’s the small little things in life I am grateful for like my family, my wife and the opportunities I have had.”