Meet the Artist: Shona Neary


As a beacon for creatives in the Big City, our Soho store is perfect environment to highlight the diverse talent within NYC, so we opened our doors—rather, our stairs—to artists through an open call for submissions for our first stair mural. After numerous entries and a round of public voting, we are proud to introduce Shona Neary as our winning Soho stair muralist.

We took a moment to speak with Shona about her background and experience as she prepared to bring her design to life.

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How would you describe your artistic style/aesthetic?

I focus a lot on individuality and nature. Because I spent my childhood moving around all over the world, I was exposed to different people and cultures and I always like to incorporate the uniqueness of life into my pieces. A lot of my work is very loose and free flowing, yet has an edge to it at the same time.

How did you find out about the contest?

I found out about the Alternative stair painting contest through Instagram. My friend in North Carolina saw it first and showed me the account, and once I saw the post, I immediately began drawing up some ideas.

What inspired the piece you created?

I was inspired by the subway system and nature for this mural. Alternative has a large focus on nature and the environment, and you can see it in the merchandise and even with the atmosphere of the store itself. Because of this, it was important to incorporate elements of nature into the design. However, I still wanted to include that NYC vibe into it, as well as some line work that I also saw reflected in the brand. The result is a design of the NYC subway system that also supports elements of nature, with leaves at various places in the design, all to show how the city and nature are incorporated into the brand.

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What do you hope those who see your stair mural will take away from it?

I hope people who see my mural will see that Alternative is a modern, city brand that is laid back and environmentally conscious. I also think people will see how Alternative supports both the environment and the arts, both things that the modern-day city stands for through this mural.

What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?

I will always be creating, so there will no doubt be many future pieces to come whether it involves painting, drawing, photography, sculpture…if I have the materials I will do it all.

Shona Neary is a fine artist based in Chelsea and the Hudson River Valley. Currently studying Fine Arts and Exhibition Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Shona has been creating her entire life and loves to share her pieces with the world on Instagram @shonaneary.

See Shona’s stair mural now at Alternative Soho’s storefront.

Written by Rachel Maniago

Photos by Matt Johnson

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