O’Connell was born in Tucker, Ga. After graduating from Emory University with degrees in philosophy and Spanish literature, he moved to Paris to teach and write a novel about painters. At 22, he picked up a pencil and discovered a natural ability to draw and paint. Inspired by the iconic American painters Marsden Hartley and Edward Hopper, O’Connell returned home to paint America. For the past seven years, among other projects, he has been executing widely acclaimed paintings in a location deeply associated with consumerism and Americana: Walmart.
In April 2012, through Everyartist.me, O'Connell helped over 8,000 elementary school children fill a football field with their art. The event’s great success inspired him and some like-minded partners to reach out to children nationwide through Everyartist.me. In 2013, Everyartist.me will create a national, collaborative art event that engages elementary school children across the country – the largest art event in history. Everyartist.me’s purpose is simple: to spark human creativity. O'Connell lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children.