Student Conversation - Alanna Galvin

"I absolutely love teaching. You can get a real energy from other people."

Alanna on teaching

I don’t want to just be an artist, I want to be an artist that works with people. I absolutely love teaching. You can get a real energy from other people. Talking to them about their ideas can spark off your own ideas and feed into your own personal work, there is a kind of symbiotic nature between my work and teaching. When you are out teaching and on placement you have to really reflect on your work as a teacher and analyse each class, that makes you analyse and reflect on your personal practice as an artist as well. You are encouraged on the course to learn about the world through the lens of art, to get a new understanding or perspective on it. Your pupils will then come out with their own opinions on certain topics through their own art work. So it is a great access point to learn about the world.

On inspiration

Sometimes I get inspiration from the pupils themselves and their personal interests and thinking about what they are interested in. Sometimes they might say something and it will spark me off as well, or it could be something they are learning in other classes. They could be learning about a topic in science or a poem in English or something like that.

On science

There is so much in Science, like the elements, crystals, compounds they are just amazing. It’s the route of everything and can send you in so many directions. I did Chemistry and Biology in school. Even in my portfolio there was a lot of chemistry elements to it. I would get metals and react them with different acids and make my own mixes and make experiments through both art and science, I learned a lot from that. I am currently working with the periodic table and the atomic structures of all of the elements, where they come from and what they are used in. A lot of my work has been designing how they should look and what kind of composition they could have, I’m redrawing them.

On technique

I usually do my paintings in acrylics and then oils and then I did a few in watercolours and I really liked them, there was a freedom and a kind of a naturalness to them. I want people to see the elements in a new way. I can’t help but think about the materials I am using to make my pieces, that is what I am physically using to make them. I am drawing them from carbon and I have carbon paper and there is titanium oxide on the boards and I keep thinking of all the elements and compounds that I am actually using or making and it really gets you thinking, learning. That’s the thing about teaching, you never stop learning yourself. It makes you make, it makes you want to make and that’s the best way to learn something. It’s infectious actually.

On what’s next

I want to go out and teach.