We had the good fortune of connecting with Ali O’Neal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ali, how do you think about risk?
As a very Type A individual who values security and stability, risk taking has played an enormous role in my career. The more risk I take, the greater the outcome. Either I fail and learn such valuable lessons far sooner than I would have without the risk, or I break through to another level in creativity or business that I could never have achieved without substantial risk.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I believe fast fashion overlooks unethical environmental and social inequities, and that where and how we spend our money is a vote for the world we want to live in. Everything I create surrounds this sentiment, and I use my artwork as a platform for to educate about the inequities of the textile fast fashion industry. My process begins by hand drawing various designs, hand-printing them onto natural fibered fabrics, and finishing them with hand-sewing. This method ensures craftsmanship in ever step of my process, and I believe is the antidote for quickly and cheaply made products.
After a decade in the environmental field, I needed to find a career that brought me more joy. I was obsessing about the state of our environment and how people move throughout our world. Creative work has brought me so much more playfulness, while allowing me to keep working within my environmental beliefs. This chapter of my life is an ever developing story, as I learn how I want to create and what kind of business I want to put out into the world. I’m learning that taking risks is imperative, and that becoming an artists is really also becoming an entrepreneur. I’m learning the hard truth that it takes more time, effort and money to create a socially and environmentally responsible business.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a huge shoutout to Carbondale Arts, and all it’s creative employees. Without their continual opportunities and support, I wouldn’t have made the progress I have thus far. They inspire and connect our local community, and continue to promote the arts and allow artists to thrive. Thank you to Amy Kimberly, Staci Dickerson, Sarah Overbeck, Brian Colley, Kellyn Wardell and Kat Rich. You all are an invaluable part of Carbondale and all creatives near and far.
Will Sardinsky Sarah Overbeck Aly Sanguily