Brian Ferran was born in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1940 and was educated at Bera Academy of Fine Art in Milan. In order to make a living, Ferran trained as an art teacher and then taught from 1963-1966. He gave lectures in both universities and galleries in the USA.
In 1966, Brian became part of the staff at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, later becoming chief executive. He was also on a number of committees and boards including the British Council of Fine Art and the Crafts Council of Great Britain International Committee.