The colourful world of Galway based artist Ciara O’Neill began when she was a young child. Art class in school was always Ciara’s favourite part of the day, and her inspirations started to flourish and develop during those formative years. Her love of all things creative led her to obtain her degree in interior and spatial design, where coursework offered various opportunities to make furniture, light fittings and unique interior spaces. 

Amongst Ciara’s work and studies, painting was a much loved side project, but she decided to embark on it full-time and embrace the unknown after moving to Ireland from Australia six years ago. Ciara reflects on the leap of faith she took, “It was at this time I said to myself “it’s now or never”, so I gave my all towards making painting my full-time business”.

Ciara’s work has become a recognisable addition to the art scene here in the west of Ireland and has inspired audiences both nationally and internationally. Ciara notes that one of the highlights of her career so far was working with Brown Thomas on their new Dundrum Store, in which Brown Thomas comes to life with art. This collaboration has been a perfect match and offers the customers a creative, vibrant and joyful experience. Another recent achievement is her collaboration with The Westbury Hotel Dublin on their “Everything’s Rosé” campaign, for which she designed the menu cover for WILDE restaurant. If those achievements weren’t impressive enough, Ciara is also one of the artists taking part in the Brown Thomas CREATE project this year which celebrates Irish design from July 5th to August 15th. Ciara is currently designing 20 hand-painted vases for this project which will be sold exclusively through Brown Thomas during this time.

For Ciara, her work is constantly evolving, transforming and growing along with her inspirations around her. Working as an artist in today’s climate has been a great experience for her, and she is using digital platforms to share her work with a wider audience. As Ciara likes to keep her studio as a private space so she can focus 100% on her craft, these online spaces have worked great to bridge that gap. ​​To emerging artists, Ciara says that it is never too late to start something new in life. “If it’s your passion, then go for it. You can work on it slowly and go from there. It’s amazing the support that will be out there for you. People want to see you succeed, so why not give it a shot”. @ciaraoneillart

Read the full interview with Ciara in our Festival Issue of GALWAYnow, on shelves now.