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Art and Apparel

A blog by Sara O'Neill


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!

Vogue Italia published an image from a shoot I did with Joseph Jude, Caroline Davis and Ashley Morhej. Twit-twoo!

In February I headed to Dublin for a few days with a great team, including photographers Gavin Millar and Robert Malone, make-up artist Ashley Morhej and hairstylist Kathy Fitzsimmons, to do a really cool bridal shoot for the Gibson Hotel. I got my own suite with a balcony overlooking the 02 and was totally spoilt by the Gibson's awesome hospitality. Sometimes I feel that I shouldn't get paid to do my job ?

Spring is always busy with ad campaigns which this year included Forestside and Castlecourt. I love shopping centre campaigns, I'm always spoilt for choice with clothes, too many gorgeous trends this year and the high-street was seriously on the ball.

In March I was London-bound with photographer Jim Crone to work on the Habia Italy catalogue.

I styled various magazine shoots throughout the year, but 'Whiter Shade of Pale' for Northern Woman's May issue was one of my favourites, with the gorgeous Emma C from Morgan The Agency, shot by Khara Pringle.

In May I headed to Galway's G Hotel with photographer Gavin Millar to style their (rather risque) bridal campaign. This hotel is something else - designed by Philip Treacy, adorned with the most amazing decor, including David Downton illustrations and 62 images of Linda Evangelista - Treacy's muse. I even got to lie in the 'I wouldn't get out of bed for less than $10,000' bed.

Summer was super-busy for me, I launched a range of illustrated t-shirts and I completed two of my favourite commercial illustrations while basking in the amazing sunshine - for The Fashion Souk and jewellery company Elephant Juice.

On the topic of jewellery, July saw me style Argento's A/W campaign, featuring the most stunning LA-based model and fabulous jewellery.

Coming into autumn it was time to embrace the A/W13 trends, and as well as fantastic studio shoots for Castlecourt and Forestside, I styled a beautiful location shoot for Rushmere, in the Argory Dungannon.

With my workload as an illustrator increasing I decided that after 8 years of being a wandering freelance soul I needed a rather more permanent place to park my bum, so I took on an office within Blick Studios on the Malone Rd. Loving it!

In November, new restaurant Remedy opened in the city centre with a few of my prints adorning the walls, including the first from my popular 'Zodiac series'.

Coming up to Christmas it was all systems go with seasonal shoots, including Castlecourt's TV commercial and a catalogue shoot for Lidl. December was crazy trying to keep with orders for illustrations and prints. I rounded off the year with a great wee shoot in the Harbour bar and around the coast with photographer Joseph Jude and model Ben.

2014 seems to be kicking off in a busy fashion - shoots booked in for the next couple of months, an exhibition in the Ulster Hall in April and a collaboration with one of my favourite designers are just a few of the things going through my mind right now!

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