Some teachers only teach art while others are both a teacher and an artist.
Philana Oliphant is an adjunct professor currently teaching at Tyler Junior College. She teaches drawing 1 and 2, three-dimensional design and online art appreciation.
“She handles a full load. She just hasn’t signed the permanent contract yet. I hope she does. We want her as a teacher here. She is a great artist as well as a great teacher,” said Derrick White, Art Department Chair.
Having exhibited work nationally and internationally, Oliphant is no stranger to being in the spotlight. She has had work included in several museum collections.
Her latest exhibition “Call of the Coyote”, is currently on display at the TJC Wise Auditorium Art Gallery.
“I don’t see how you couldn’t walk away, no matter what your interests in art are, to walk away and not be thoroughly impressed. She can do things with a pencil and the very basic materials that I’ve seen very few people do,” said Chris Stewart, a professor in the art department.
For the last 20 years, Oliphant has been sharing her knowledge as a teacher in elementary, secondary, college and university levels. She was previously employed at the University of Texas at Tyler.
“She has a very different teaching method and work method than some that have worked here before,” said Stewart. “I never had any concern about that. I was interested in how she would adapt to working at TJC, but it is remarkable what she has done with her students.”
“I really try to teach them what I know, what I’ve done through my years of drawing and sculpture,” Oliphant said.
Oliphant is not ready to stop being an artist.
“The drawing is an immediate thing I can go to. I have a really busy life, with a family and a job. It allows me to benefit from one of the things I am really interested in which is sound. Thesound that the marks make is part of what I really enjoy,” Oliphant said. “The bird drawings are based on that sound and those are sort of a meditation.”
Oliphant has judged art competitions and has received special recognition in numerous juried competitions.
“I look for sound composition and technique and content how it’s presented. When judging, you can’t really apply your own personal taste. As a juror, you have to be open-minded to all forms of work,” Oliphant said.
Her exhibition will continue through March 4. There will also be an Artist Talk/ Reception from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on March 3 in the TJC Wise Auditorium Art Gallery.