Saturday, September 26, 2015

National Public Radio (NPR)

My name is Estelle Kline and I am a senior Photography major and Graphic Design concentrator. This fall I interned in the newsroom of 88.1 WYPR Baltimore’s NPR News Station. National Public Radio is non profit media organization with headquarters based in Washington D. C and 900 member stations across the country. I learned of this internship by checking their website constantly for openings. I have been a listener of WYPR for the past four years and securing this position was a dream come true. As a newsroom intern I researched and pitched relevant Maryland news topics that I would then write for the web. During my research I would also assist in the audio production of the show Inside Maryland Politics. On Election Day I was able to go into the field and interview voters and then spend the remainder of the day in the studio reporting numbers our live coverage of the race. Being able to work in a position involving news and politics has been exhilarating. My direct supervisor was Bret Jaspers the producer for Inside Maryland Politics and a jack of all trades around the newsroom. He would be my go to for story pitches and to check in on my writing progress. When sent out on a story I would also take photo documentation for the web story. This internship has set me up with the tools to continue in a career field involving public radio and audio production. My biggest take away was advice given to me by one of the politics reporters, “As long as you have an ability to write and you’re a hard worker, you can make it in journalism”. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friends of the Web

I found out about the opportunity to intern at Friends of The Web when Andy Mangold reached out to me directly. I had been recommended by a previous MICA intern, and Andy made the first contact with me. After a few emails, I visited Friends of The Web to meet the team and do an interview. During the interview, I was asked to take Andy and a few other members of the team through my portfolio, and was asked to explain both design decisions and technical solutions for interactive work. At the end of my interview, Andy expressed to me that I would be welcome to join the team, and that they would send some details to me about hours, pay, etc within a few days.

Andy is a founding member of Friends of The Web, an interactive consultancy based in Mt. Vernon. FoTW was started by Andy, Anthony Mattox (a fellow MICA alumnus), Dan Martens, and Josh Hepworth after they all graduated in 2011. Andy, Dan, and Josh grew up together in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and Anthony and Andy lived together through school at MICA. Since its inception, FoTW has grown to be about 10 employees, including two or three student interns at any given time. The company tries to split its time between consulting work for various clients and their own products. Eventually, they hope to be able to support their business with their own mobile and web products. Andy is a designer, front end developer, and, as a partner, something of a project manager. 

As an intern, I’ve been involved in a few projects. There have been two website designs for smaller, independent clients that I have been able to take a leading role in, and for one of those I was also able to do the front end development of the site. I’ve also worked on a retainer project for a client in New York who is building an iOS application. He employs several developers, but contracts Friends of The Web to do a lot of design explorations on a weekly basis.

Of the projects I’ve worked on, I am most proud of the work I’ve done on my current project, which is a website for a client in California highlighting upstanding members of the community in East Palo Alto. It’s a project I believe in, and I think that the work I’ve done so far has been interesting and pushes against current trends in web design. From this, I’ve learned how difficult it is to do interesting work in the real world. I’m glad that I am in a position where the client is willing to experiment a bit, but this is far from commonplace. This has made me think much more about what sort of environment I want to work in post-graduation; while I love working at Friends of The Web, and am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have learned so much from such excellent mentors, I don’t know if I feel like the consulting world is the best fit for me in the future.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Gabe Dinsmoor, Journalist

My name is Dave Angilella and I am a senior photography major with a concentration in film + video and minor in culture and politics. During the Spring of 2015, I was lucky enough to intern as a journalist, second camera, editor and co- producer with Baltimore native, Gabe Dinsmoor. Gabe is a free lance journalist who contributes frequent video pieces to both City Paper and the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets. I have been curious whether or not journalism is a direction I am interested in taking my work in terms of my career. I began at MICA as a documentary-minded photographer, and at the end of my four years here I am at a crossroads between documentary work and more personal, artistic (but still socially based work.

I was lucky enough to find Gabes work online and reached out to him for a meeting.  This initial meeting was just to make contact and to see how we got along in a casual setting. I didnt want to mention my search for an internship or interest in working with him, but instead cultivate a genuine relationship beforehand. Two weeks later, I reached out to Gabe and asked if he was interested in working together. I told him how I had respected his work and the social ties and implications it had, and would love to be a part of his team. I explained my background and how I thought we could mutually benefit from each other’s visions. So began my internship.'

My internship has been quite the learning experience. I have broken new boundaries in terms of my self-confidence in my own capabilities as a photographer and leader, as well as newfound abilities. I also now have new work in my portfolio that displays real-world experience in a tangible field. During my time with Gabe, I have taken on various jobs, such as second-camera, interviewer, editor, co-producer, story-researcher, and much more. Until this job, I had not had the experience of working as a freelance journalist, nor did I understand what it was like to drive that kind of career. I was not familiar with the process of discovering and forming stories in a journalistic format. I can now confidently say that I have that experience and am capable of doing so. I am still unsure if this is a career path I would like to ultimately pursue, because as I have found during this experience, the work is often detached by nature. It can be intimate and sensitive, but at the end of the day it is only a quick story in an ever-moving news cycle. It is not the same as doing sustained documentary work or my more artistic, yet socially mindful work. Maybe I will come to find a way to tie the two together, or perhaps I wont. Regardless of this, my internship has been a base from which I can now move forward. I have begun the process and am coming closer to discovering where my abilities and philosophical/social mindset will be most useful and rewarding.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tony Shore Studio Assistant

My name is Sami Alwani and I am a second semester junior Drawing major. This Fall I interned for working fine artist Tony Shore as a studio assistant. I had a friendly teacher student working relationship with Tony for about a year and a half prior to starting on the internship and had taken his painter Drawing studio class and his six credit, self-directed Themes and Narrative class and so we got to know each other pretty well. In my winter semester of last year he approached me and asked me to intern for him in the following Fall semester of this year, which I thought would be a fabulous opportunity to learn and work under a practicing artist with a developed studio practice.

Tony is a fine art painter who has two main bodies of work as an artist. The body of work he is most well-known for and has been developing for most of his artistic career are his black velvet paintings of his lower-middle class white family in Baltimore. His second body of work is a series of sporting art, fox hunting paintings he does mainly surrounding the Elkridge Harford County Country Club. Tony was my only supervisor during the course of the internship as I was working as a studio assistant for his independent studio practice.

I was responsible for a large variety of different tasks, one of the staples was streamlining organization in the studio and trying to facilitate workflow by rearranging workspaces and preparing materials etc. As I went further along in the internship I was given opportunities to do underpaintings for two of a new group of small fox hunting paintings Tony was starting which involved blocking in line work of his photo reference via projector and laying in flat colors under his supervision. This was probably the part of the intership I was proudest of, but I was also very honored to be actually included as a model in a new black velvet painting that Tony did while I was working for him. I was involved in the process of collecting documentation for this painting in setting up and being part of the photoshoot for our staging of the scene.Apart from this I also worked setting up two shows that Tony was involved in over the course of the semester, including an elaborate pop-up show and dinner at the country club I mentioned as part of an event collaborating with the Creative Alliance.

It was very valuable for me as an art student to get a really pretty realistic taste of the life and working practice of a fine artist involved in many traditional aspects of a fine art career including setting up exhibitions, taking commissions and more nuts and bolts aspects of actual painting and drawing processes as well as reference gathering. In terms of how this has helped me clarify my career goals I should say that this semester was a transition period for me in terms of having one foot in the world of fine art and another in the world of illustration and cartooning, I have moved more in the direction of the latter, although my experience as an intern and studio assistant at Tony Shore studios was wholly fulfilling and rewarding.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sparkypants Studios

My name is Alexander Nelson and during the spring of 2015 I was an intern at Sparkypants Studios, a game developer located in Baltimore Maryland. I study and occasionally work in pre production as my primary focus of illustration studies, and internships are a fun way to learn a lot. During the prior semester I had taken advanced concept art with David Inscore as a course, during winter break he reached out with an internship offer at Sparkypants where he is an art director.  Sparkypants studios is a medium sized game developer who is new in name, but filled with a sizable number of industry veterans. A lot of prior experience studios members had in the field revolves around real time strategy games, and open world role playing gams. The Studio was in a temporary office in mount Washington, but is in the process of moving to the Centre Building on North Charles.

Dave Inscore was my supervisor, as stated he is one of the art directors at the studio. This role encompassed making sure visual themes meshed well, handing out assignments to artists based on sprint period needs, and contributing his own visual ideas and pieces as well. Dave also is just an energetic guy and lends great energy on top of his art direction.  I worked alongside 2 other interns and close friends mostly, and we shared the same workloadesponsibilities. The work done spanned over many different areas based on need, early on it was a lot of concepting work with stress on icon work for user interface readability. I worked also on creating a minimap for in game use, and worked on making UI borders, with different shape and color treatments. We also focused on game menu item isolation, cleaning of 3d stills, texture capture, decal treatments, map area ideation and 3d exploration with game assets. Toward period end the work shifted toward ability treatments, 3d study and menu concepts.  I'm most proud of designing a few item appearances that made it into the game build and got 3d treatments, they look awesome.

My biggest lessons learned have to be an even better grip on studio communication. Ask lots of questions, and make sure they are on point, saves a lot of pipeline hours. It's also important to be aware of everyones work so that what you create jives with the visual index of the joint project. It's also  really important to laugh and have fun with your coworkers, because you're all working on stuff you love and when neat things happen it's ok to cheer. This work period has not so much clarified my work goals so much as re-confirmed my love of doing this kind of work. Every internship has been like that, it's exciting to see work click together, it's exciting to do work in an industry where you get to learn every day.