Contributed by Claire Gallion
She was in 4th grade when she drew her first self-portrait. Now in 11th, junior Claire Gallion is an aspiring artist with a passion for drawing, painting and all things creative.
Gallion first began to draw and paint like any kid would, in elementary school with crayons and markers.
“I started when I was a little kid, around kindergarten. I feel like every little kid loves art,” Gallion said.
A few years later, in grade school, while writing in her diary, Gallion said she realized that her passion for art was stronger than the usual hobby.
“There was this turning point moment where I began to love drawing. I remember I was writing in my diary at the time and I drew a little cartoony self-portrait. Looking back, it was really bad, but I was like, ‘wow, I love this,’” Gallion said.
Gallion said she wasn’t able to nurture her skills until recently. With the combination of school and extracurriculars, it was hard to take the time to practice art.
Gallion’s long-time friend, junior Hannah Smolyar, said she realized her friend’s passion for art when she saw her Instagram account.
“I didn’t get to see all of her work that often before, but then she started posting it and I got to see it and I was just like, ‘oh my gosh she is so talented,’” Smolyar said.
Another friend of Gallion’s, junior Dhruva Schlondorff, said he noticed her fascination for art when she would doodle in a notebook.
“I saw her passion pretty early on. She would always have a notebook of random things, and there were always little drawings in it. She would also sketch or doodle in chemistry class. That’s when I started asking and realized that she was a talented artist,” Schlondorff said.
A common subject of Gallion’s work is portraiture. She said she loves to draw and paint faces of all shapes, sizes and emotions.
“I like to do portraits. I think they’re really fun because I think people’s faces are so interesting. There’s always something a little bit different, even with people who look similar,” Gallion said. “I especially like doing portraits of faces that are under some kind of stress, like if they’re sunburnt or somebody’s really upset.”
Over time, Gallion said she has developed a unique style of her own. For Schlondorff, it is one of the main reasons why he enjoys Gallion’s art.
“My favorite works are a combination of realistic and surreal styles, like her mirror drawing on her Instagram. I really liked that combination and mix of color choices in that piece. I feel like her work shows a lot of emotion, too,” Schlondorff said.
Smolyar said that Gallion certainly has a signature, recognizable style.
“Whenever she paints anything, you think, ‘oh that’s Claire’s,’ and you can feel the emotion. You can always recognize her work, and I just love that. It’s so unique, wonderful, and amazing,” Smolyar said.
According to Gallion, in order to become a good artist, you must trust the process.
“Nobody is good at art when they first try,” Gallion said. “People can pretend, but the truth is, art is just about practice and passion. As long as you’re having fun, that’s okay,”