O'Connor was born in Bloemfontein. From 1960 to 1964 he studied at WITS where he obtained a BA(FA).
In 1964 he was a lecturer at UDW and in 1971 he became a senior lecturer in painting at the Natal Technikon.
In 1977 he emigrated to Ireland.
O'Connor has participated in many group exhibitions in SA and abroad and held several solo exhibitions. He is represented in public and private collections in SA and abroad.