Ali moved from California at seventeen to study comparative religion and visual art at Columbia University in New York City. There she studied with two renowned professors: Archie Rand and Thomas Roma. After graduating, she continued to paint in New York and mentored with the artist Chuck Close. In 2003 she moved to London to attend the Slade School of Art.
While at the Slade, Ali was invited to be one of the five inaugural advisors for OUTset, which among other things would go on to form the Frieze Acquisitions Fund – a fund that, partnered with curators, would buy work from the Frieze Art Fair each year to donate to the Tate Modern. Working alongside Elena Foster, Jan Debbaut (TATE), Colin Wiggins (National Gallery), among other dazzling voices of the art world, allowed her to thrive in the antipodes of the art world simultaneously.
While in London, she also produced a short film called “Last Night,” starring Rosamund Pike and Anthony Andrews. The following year, she applied to be one of six young directors to receive a grant from the governor of New Mexico to make a short film. Having only her paintings and a page of ideas to apply with, she was accepted into the program and directed a short film called “10-11,” about the choice a man must make when, from the vantage point of his lover’s bed, he sees the World Trade Center – where he works – on fire. Realizing that everyone, including his wife, thinks he’s dead, an extraordinary opportunity presents itself.
In 2010 Ali began directing her first feature film – a story of impossible love called “Afterglow.” A non-traditional documentary, the project began in 2008 in response to a life-altering event. Keep an eye out for it on the festival circuit in 2012.
In 2011 she also directed her first two music videos - an art form she loves for the way it combines her love for painting and filmmaking. The first video, "Always A Reason," was shot in Iceland for the prodigious Icelandic talent Elin Ey. The second, shot in New Mexico with actor David Ode, was made for the single "Give Up" by Low Roar.
Ali is currently painting and making from her studio in New Mexico.