Five Minutes with Jan Withers, Head Of Visual Arts

What inspires you as a teacher?

The Santa Maria Visual Art students constantly inspire me as a teacher! Their passion for the arts, their thirst for creativity, their dedication to their work, inspires me each and every day. The ideas that they come up with in response to the broad themes presented to them at the start of each project, inspire me immensely.

What part of the school year is most exciting/challenging for you?

I think the Year 11 and 12 students, and working closely with them, is the most challenging part of being a teacher at Santa. Presenting them with challenging themes, creative projects and new ways of seeing the world is an exciting part of my job. I am constantly searching for new ideas, techniques and artists for them to be inspired by.

What is your art specialty?

I completed my BA (Crafts) majoring in Jewellery, however, I consider myself a bit of a “jack of all trades”, dabbling in painting, drawing, mixed media and textiles. I would have to say though that my first passion would be drawing.

Who is your favourite artist?

I have many favourite artists, so it is difficult to mention one in particular. But if I had to say one I guess it would be David Hockney. When I was in Year 12, the first art book I bought was on David Hockney……and that book is still a favourite today. I admire the fact that he has experimented so widely, flirting with different genres and styles. I saw his latest exhibition in Melbourne late last year of work using an ipad and it was beyond amazing!

What is something not many people know about you?

 I have an obsession with miniature dacshunds! Interestingly many famous artists have dacshunds, including David Hockney! My mini dachshund is called Merlin and he is the cutest!

If you could choose another job what would it be?

Fashion or Interior Designer

Favourite quote?

“Creativity takes Courage”

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