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Art and Apparel

A blog by Sara O'Neill

BFW Charity Shop Challenge and my Charity Shopping Top Tips

Monday 24th of March 2014

Ever innovative, this year BELFAST FASHION WEEK added a new addition to their roster of shows - the Charity Shop Challenge, bringing together 13 stylists, bloggers and journalists and challenging them to create ten catwalk-worthy looks from their own assigned charity shop, including Pretty in Pink, The British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research. I was delighted to be assigned Oxfam Vintage- I've worked with these guys so many times over the years and they never disappoint, trawling through their stock is never a chore but it can be quite dangerous as I often leave with a trove of goodies for myself.

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Fitzwilliam 'Fab at Five' Birthday Invitation

Sunday 23rd of March 2014

In early February I was delighted to be asked if I'd be interested in illustrating an image for the Fitzwilliam's 5th birthday party. Well of course I would! The request was for an image to be used on invites and a large scale installation piece, of a beautiful girl, incorporating one of the Fitz's famed cocktails, their 'F' logo and a nod to the casino theme of the party. A couple of options were brainstormed and emails pinged back and forth between myself, super PR girl Hannah and lovely Fitzmanager Siobhan for a week or two, by which stage I had the complete image in my mind.

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Dates for your Diary Spring 2014

Sunday 9th of March 2014

Spring 2014 is shaping up to be a fantastic season for art and fashion lovers in Northern Ireland, with a bumper crop of events happening in March/April.

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The Zodiac Series: Aquarius (21 January - 19 February)

Saturday 1st of February 2014

Aquarius, the Water-bearer, is the third in my Zodiac series. I wanted this to look quite different from my previous two drawings (Taurus and Capricorn) As Aquarius is an air sign, compared to the earthiness of Taurus and Capricorn, I wanted Aquarius to be tonally lighter and much more ethereal in style. Researching Aquarius I couldn't find many negative qualities, they are apparently 'visionaries, progressive souls who love to spend time thinking about how things can be better', 'at a near-genius level, so their minds churn out some amazing things', 'a genius that borders on insanity'. My little brother is Aquarius and I would definitely attribute these qualities to him (although I would not tell him so)

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Tuesday 14th of January 2014

This was a great year for me as a stylist and illustrator, I worked with some fantastic people and visited some great locations - here are just a couple of the highlights of my year. January got off to a great start when I signed with London-based illustration agency, Lemonade. They have been fantastic in guiding me towards more commercial illustration and broadening my portfolio. One of the first things they advised me to do was to add more colour to my book- I worked on a little doodle of model of the moment Charlotte Free, who spied and shared it on Facebook, to hundreds of likes, which was nice!

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Ben: Another North Coast Shoot

Wednesday 8th of January 2014

The final shoot of 2013 was a seriously relaxed affair, as one would expect between Christmas and New Year and shot in my favourite location, the North Coast. Coming from Portrush I am biased of course, but I think everyone would agree that we are very lucky to have an area of such natural and dramatic beauty right on our doorstep. It's the perfect location for a shoot, especially at this time of the year: moody, atmospheric, tumultuous and ever changing.

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Review: Remedy Cafe Bar

Thursday 2nd of January 2014

On their Facebook Page, Remedy describe themselves as a 'cool new city centre cafe bar situated on Fountain Street. Our breakfast Club offers the best brekkie in the city and our Posh Sausage Sandwich is the bizzo.' Now, as someone who could easily forgo all other meals and eat breakfast three times a day I had to give this a try. Also, Remedy has excellent taste in art- my prints are hanging on the wall- and my ego does loooove to hang out beside my work. This has not prejudiced my review in any way!...

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The Zodiac Series: Capricorn (22nd December - 19th January)

Friday 13th of December 2013

So the second illustration in my Zodiac Series is Capricorn. I really loved drawing my Taurus Article and I have to be honest, I was genuinely shocked at how popular it was- on the first day it was published I got orders through immediately- including four very large framed prints and requests for the original. Often my work is commissioned- either commercial or private, or for an exhibition- but sometimes I draw pictures just for the love of it- I have an idea and in order to get it out of my head I have to get it on to paper, and this is how it was with the Zodiac Series. When you create something in this way, however, you must be prepared for the fact that other people may not like it or find it interesting, so its popularity has been...

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The Zodiac Series: Taurus (20th April - 19th May)

Wednesday 4th of December 2013

I'm putting together a series of fashion illustrations based on the signs of the zodiac, for a range of birthday cards. Of course, I had to begin with my own star-sign: Taurus, the bull. I'm not particularly into astrology, but when I do read the Taurean characteristics, many of them seem to ring true: stubborn, materialistic, greedy, artistic, self-indulgent, likes beautiful things etc

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Ask the Expert: Autumn/Winter 2013: Slip dresses

Saturday 5th of October 2013

This was first published in my "Ask the Expert" column for Northern Woman Magazine Q. I'm looking for a dress that isn't too prom-style that I can wear during the day as well as to parties/events. I have long dark wavy hair and pale skin and my budget is £150. Can you please help?

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Interview with Kathryn Lamont of the Irish News

Monday 16th of September 2013

With access to rail upon rail of gorgeous designer clothes, trips to exotic location shoots and a backstage pass to the season's hottest events, a career as a fashion stylist is the dream job for many. Surely it can't be all glamour? Well, maybe - hoping to pick up some tricks of the trade, Kathryn Lamont catches up with Northern Ireland's top stylist, Sara O'Neill, just before she leaves for an afternoon flight to Italy...

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Flawless Magazine

Sunday 11th of August 2013

1. How did your fashion and art adventure begin? I've loved art and fashion since I was a little kid, I think I knew I wanted to work in the creative industry since I was six or seven, I was always drawing and designing little outfits. I was obsessed with Pre-raphaelite and Impressionist art from a very young age and I was very lucky that my parents encouraged that. In school I went down the arty direction, doing GCSE and then A-level art, and then going to art college to complete my degree in fashion and textiles.

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