Thursday, July 4, 2013

Meet the artist - Ciara Neill

My name is Ciara Neill. I am 18 years old (a youngster still..) and I am from Northglenn, Colorado. I just graduated with honors from High School, and I am about to start my new life in the fall at BYU Idaho. Government is a huge area of interest for me, as I plan to write (and do my own illustrations) for children's books that teach about our government along with American history. My biggest joy of all is my non-profit the Shimmer Sparkle Shine Project. We aim to aid young girls in realizing their own individual worth. The idea of self esteem seems to influence a lot of my art!

I haven't had any professional art experience other then being a part of the advanced IB art program at my high school. IB stands for the international baccalaureate program, and the best way to describe it is AP on steroids. My art journey started off bumpy. Photography has always been my favorite but I hate the stigma created by my generation around the art form. If you say you are a photographer they think you are just some lousy kid who likes Instagram. Between that and my personal perception that fine art defines art, I really struggled. This past year I finally found my artistic voice, and I improved beyond what I thought was possible. It proves that attitude is everything!

The camera acts as my eye, permanently recording what I see. The reaction from my subjects when they see themselves is rewarding because they see what everyone else sees; their unique beauty that distinguished them from anybody else. I initially wanted to create work about my church, but I learned that the aspect I love is how my church defines a purpose for everyone. This idea caused me to further analyze how others view their purpose and how they determined their worth and purpose. As Annie Leibovitz said, “Sometimes I enjoy just photographing the surface because I think it can be as revealing as going to the heart of the matter.”I want the viewers to see into the subject presented in an effort increase their sense of identity.

The biggest peice of advice that I have is use a sketchbook! Through IB, they stressed it to be our workbook. We were expected to not only write about our pieces, but photograph the process, discuss artist/other inspiration, cultural influences, and whatever else went with art. I really utilized this more so than others, because it became like my indirect journal. I could tell how I have changed so much over two years by just looking at my subject matter and inspiration. I know this will be something that is permanently a part of my art process. 


Thinking of inspiration, I thought I would share with you my top 5 inspirations.

1.  Shimmer Sparkle Shine Project; as I stated earlier I started this program to raise self worth in girls, and seeing their personalities/ hearing their experiences really inspire me!


2. Fashion; One of my guilty pleasures is fashion. I can't sew to save my life, but I love the sketches designers create. The way they perceive the body form and how they express it through creativity is just amazing! It has inspired me to create my own fashion sketches, as seen below;

3.  Annie Leibovitz; Portrait photography is my thing, and obviously hers too! I love how she can take a portrait and tell such a huge story with it.

4.  My church is big one. If the BYU Idaho wasn't an indicator, I am a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (AKA a Mormon). The Young Women's program for girls 12-18 has 8 values of emphasis, and one is individual worth. This value really stood out to me!

5.  History; I love how history can shape/redefine a whole culture. I love looking at the correlation between fashion and history. For example I did a piece inspired by CoCo Channel. Many didn't know that her iconic skirt suit and more form fitting clothes were to adapt to the working status of women as their men were fighting. She thought that women needed to be comfortable at work too!

I am a newbie to mail art but the pieces I have got make me so happy! Sometimes my family picks fun at me when I talk about my art because as they say it is too "snap snap poetry shop" for them! Plus mail is just a lost art in general! Receiving mail is a rare thing, and when I see art waiting for me I am just so happy! Plus when I leave home in September, I know that I will be homesick in Idaho. I hope that I still receive mail art there to make me feel at home.

If you want to check out more of my portfolio go to my website at! In the comment box you can leave your address and I would be flattered to send you mail art!!


big mamabird said...

Hi Ciara! So nice to get to know you...You have such lovely work- I looked at your portfolio, and Really liked your photos of the young girls best! Oh, also the urban serenity ones, well, because of the graffiti..! Looking forward to trading with you...

Terrie said...

You're a talented young lady with a lot to say. As I browsed your portfolio page, it's clear you have a unique point of view. I enjoyed this peek into your life and style.

Thanks Karen for introducing us to another talented artist.

Anonymous said...

Ciara, it's lovely to get to know you. You have your two feet planted firmly on your artistic path, and you will go far with all the talent already in evidence. Turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to any detractors!

Anonymous said...

Ciara, I really enjoyed reading/meeting you. It hurt my heart to read that your family makes fun of your photography, tho. Please don't let them stop you. Wishing you all the happiness, joy, and success in your art life.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful interview, you are a sparkly shiny person and we need more women like you in the world. Keep taking those photos....xox

AES said...

Congratulations on your acceptance to BYU! Going away to college is such an exciting time :)

Parabolic Muse said...

Ciara, I'm FORTY YEARS older than you are, and I've done half as much. Which makes me, in Ciara years, nine.

Thank you!!
(failed algebra)

p.s. Lovely work.

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