College of Visual and Performing Arts Stories

CVPA All-Star Series: Julian Ali

Julian Ali

By Jen Kulju (M'04)

Raised in a military family, Julian Ali went to 15 schools before JMU. He spent a portion of his childhood in Hawaii, where Ali says being exposed to Hawaiian heritage and Filipino culture furthered his fascination with diverse people and their stories—and made him “open and receptive to everything” in his approach to creating art. Influenced by family members who were artistically inclined, Ali experimented with painting and drawing—but it wasn’t until his senior year in high school when a sports injury put him out of commission that he discovered photography.

By then, his family was living in Norfolk, so Ali decided on JMU for college, where he was a studio art major with a concentration in photography and a School of Media Arts and Design (SMAD) major with a concentration in film studies. Since graduating in 2015, Ali is “using all aspects of both majors” as a professional artist living in Washington, D.C. He manages talent (which involves creative directing and marketing/brand consulting) through a company he founded in 2017 called ALIGIANCE. Ali also works as a photographer, with a particular interest in portraiture. “My art is inspired by day-to-day song lyrics, poetry and metaphors,” says Ali, who credits JMU with teaching him how to “talk and connect with other individuals,” which has gotten him through and helped him to land many creative projects. 

April 24, 2018

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Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

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