Eva Harrington has traded her home in Co Clare and set off to the big city to study a joint degree in art education and textile art and artefact (TAA) at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD). Now in her first year, she is happy she followed her heart and chose a degree, for the love of art.
Q. Define what art means to you?
A. Art to me is a place of refuge. No matter what is going on in my life, when I pick up a pen to draw, nothing else matters and I can become completely absorbed in my work.
It helps to distract me and gives me something to focus on, allowing me to put everything else on pause.
It's calming, enjoyable and sometimes helps me to work through difficult things in my life, as I can express myself through my work.
Q. What made you fall in love with art?
A. I grew up in a very artistic household. My mam has loved art her whole life and almost went to art college, but was talked out of it by her parents.
She used to draw pictures for me to colour in when I was little.
My siblings and I are all creative and it is something my family and I can really bond over and have in common. My childhood was not always easy and art was sometimes a welcome form of escape.
Q. Do you have a certain set-up/routine you follow when you do your art?
A. For the most part, I like doing my art alone. I like being in a studio environment with other students, but I always have my AirPods in, as do most of the others.
I get sucked into my work for hours at a time, so I always like to have some background noise.
In the studio, I listen to music or a podcast and at home I usually throw something on Netflix. It's always something that you don’t really have to think about or follow, like the TV show Friends, just to have some company.
Q. How are you finding your studies at the NCAD? What do they get you to do and what have been some of your favourite moments so far?
A. I am really enjoying my studies so far. The workload can be intense at times, but it’s good that they push us.
In art education, I am currently on placement, where I teach art once a week in a primary school, which is really fun.
In TAA, we are currently working on denim sampling and are working towards our end of year show. Throughout first year you get to try out lots of different projects.
NCAD is a lovely environment. Some of my favourite memories would be from the events organised by the student union (SU), where I got to spend time with my friends. I also love chill studio time; there is always a nice vibe and great chats.
Q. What is great about studying art as opposed to doing it as a hobby?
A. I feel like the view that art is not a good career choice is wrong. Throughout this year, I have been pushed way out of my comfort zone and tried out so many things that I would never have on my own.
NCAD provides great opportunities and work experience for students and puts them in a position of being able to pursue a career in the thing they love.
Not many people can say that they love their work and I am so happy that I am and will be able to. No matter how much money you make, if you don’t enjoy what you do every day, I don’t see the point.
Q. What is the best spot in Dublin for art lovers?
A. The obvious answer would be the galleries and museums. My favourites are the National Art Gallery and the Royal Hibernian Academy.
A favourite place of mine to go and do some schoolwork or just doodle on a nice day is St Stephen’s Green. It’s nice to be surrounded by nature, something we don’t get to do enough in the city.
It’s really lovely working in a calm environment like that; people-watching, finding inspiration and enjoying the sun.
Q. Who is your favourite creative person out there?
A. My favourite artist of all time is Frida Kahlo. I could write pages on her, but I’ll just say how much I admire the bravery and honesty she showed in her work and her openness as a human being. She was an extremely talented artist and remains a feminist icon.
I also love Van Gogh. His work is so famous for a reason; it is timeless. A more modern artist that I really love is Alice Maher. Her work is really thought-provoking and interesting.