Submitted by students, these are previous internship experiences told first-hand.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Architectural Alliance

My name is Hans Harland-Hue and I’m a senior Environmental Design major with a concentration in spatial design. I am interested in Biomimetic Architecture and sustainability. I was an intern at Architectural Alliance (AA) which specializes in both commercial and residential design. I found out about the firm through Owen Van Essen, who just happened to be a client and good friend of President and Founder of AA, Eric Enfield. I sent him an email and was asked to come in to show my work and what skills I want to develop further. I was hired immediately. 

Architectural Alliance is a very small firm, consisting of Eric Enfield (AIA Board member) President and Founder of AA), Hunter Redman(Architect, draftsman, project manager, residence designer), Daniel Lujan (Draftsman and project manager, commercial designer) and Dorrie (receptionist). Because there are so few members, all were given multiple jobs. 

When I started working at Architectural Alliance, I was immediately put to work. My task in the beginning was to do all the filing and archiving of all past projects. Even though it was tiring, it was necessary to understand formats and organization. To keep one's work organized can prevent legal issues with clients and the working body. I had to make floor plans, alternate roof plans, elevations, plumbing and electrical systems. Apart from that, Eric took me around to various sites that AA was working on to make evaluations of the progress and other questions the contractors, interior designers and clients had. He also took me to past works and for some, walked me through them. Jobs with Daniel were delivering plans to the Department of Land Use to be approved for construction. We also went to one private million dollar residence and a Molecular Toxicology lab to record measurements so we could draw it up on AutoCad. I also went to various meetings with The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Santa Fe Historic District. 

My biggest project was to design a two room, one bathroom, portal, and veranda cabin for the Kirkpatrick family. This was very exciting since the Kirkpatrick family are multimillionaires and own all kinds of property in Santa Fe. I was amazed that Eric would let me take on such a job for such upscale clients especially since I had to virtually relearn AutoCad. I was not nearly as proficient with the system as I am now.

I definitely have learned AutoCad and I am much more proficient with the program then I once was. I have increased organizational and program management skills. I go with Eric for evaluations at sites and listen in on conversation with various people in the business. It is interesting to see all the connections from various careers that come together to work on one project. However, I believe the most important thing was learning how a real Architecture firm is run. Hunter Redman, an Architect at Architectural Alliance (AA) said that getting her degree does not prepare you to work in a firm, as she just learned a lot of theory. Regardless, obtaining an M. Arch is still highly advised because it allows you to approve drawings and you can design structures over 250,000 dollars. Even spending a month at AA has been a great opportunity because to know what my future will be like is paramount to my decision to pursue this career or not.

To build structures that are inhabitable and to have them identifiable as green and comply with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), that would be a dream. Sustainability is the key to our future. This internship is just a small piece as well as working in a firm but it has taught me the logistics of how a small firm is run. The big picture is how to evolve a firm into a global organization that creates Biomimetic Architecture to try to evolve the world for a cleaner future. Even though Architectural Alliance has not had many sustainable designs or ideas nor have they even heard of Biomimicry, it has pointed me in the right direction to pursue this career path and I am very thankful to of been given this opportunity.

Atlantic Center for the Arts

I am a Senior Painting Major with a minor in Critical Theory. During the summer of  2012, I was an intern at Atlantic Center For the Arts (ACA) in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The ACA is an interdisciplinary artist residency organization that provides visual, literary, and performing artists the facilities and time to work and collaborate. For each three-week residency, has three experienced “Master Artists,” are selected by a council to mentor a group of beginning and mid-career Associates. While ACA’s Advisory Council picks the Masters, the Masters select the Associates from artists who have submitted to the program. Aside from its main campus, ACA also runs a community arts center downtown, which holds events and public lectures, as well as summer art classes. This year ACA has also begun its Community Artists in Residence program.

While I have intended to run a studio practice out of school, I have also wanted to engage with the arts outside of the studio, whether in criticism, museum work and education, or arts administration. I thought that working at an arts organization and residency program would give me a sense of what a residency was like, while being able to explore other territory. I found ACA on the Alliance of Artist Communities database (l would learn later that ACA was a founding member of the Alliance) as well as MICA’s artist residency database. I sent my application, cover letter, and resume to ACA, as well as several other organizations (Chinati Foundation, Headlands, and Anderson Ranch). I was somewhat surprised to hear that I had gotten accepted to the internship without an interview, but accepted the offer a few days later. I had already received interviews from two other residency organizations but I was waiting on their replies.

I had several supervisors at the ACA, though I worked most closely with Nick Conroy who ran programs and exhibitions at the main campus and Ren Morrison, the community outreach coordinator. For Nick and exhibitions, I researched and compiled information on the history of ACA’s founder, Doris Leeper, a visual artist who worked to establish arts organizations and to establish the Canaveral National Seashore. I wrote and designed material for an exhibition about her and the history of the organization for ACA’s 35th anniversary. With Ren, I helped him run the annual two-week Teen Writing Residency, take photos, and prepare printed materials. I also organized and hung the Summer Camp Art exhibition. These were my main activities among a plethora of other tasks. Above all, I found my work for the LeeperExhibition most rewarding, not only because every visitor to the ACA will now be able to learn from it, but also because I was able to explore a rich history of the area, the organization and its founder, and figure out how a large successful organization like the ACA was put together.

My internship was an excellent experience, much in part to my engaging projects, but also because I was able to interact with artists during residency. I was able to gain perspective on producing art outside of school, and learn how the artists of each field differed in their experience of making art. While my communication and skills improved through interaction with co-workers and others, I also benefited from the Doris Leeper Exhibition, as it was a project that required strong verbal and organizational skills in order to effectively convey information. That being said, my internship has confirmed my speculation that I would like to work in a career other than administration. I am now more inclined towards my original goal when coming to MICA– to teach art and criticism at the collegiate level.  

-Jacob Weinberg '12 Painting

Monday, September 10, 2012

Oscar de la Renta

My name is Sophie Moore and I am a Junior Graphic Design Major. Over the summer of 2012, I was one of the two Graphic Design Interns for the fashion house, Oscar de la Renta. I was very lucky to have received this internship because it is very competitive to get internships in New York City especially with a fashion brand. Brockett Horn, the chair of the Graphic Design department at MICA, was the one who emailed me with the information about this internship. I immediately followed through and contacted Marissa Kraxberger, who was my supervisor throughout the internship. We had a phone interview and then that was that.

Oscar de la Renta is one of the oldest and most well known American fashion designers. His brand now consists of Ready to Wear, Resort, Bridal, Fragrance and Children’s. The team is small for a well-known fashion brand but has many hardworking talented people. One of the many talented people on the Oscar team was my internship supervisor, Marissa Kraxberger, who was just recently employed as the Head of the Creative team. Besides Oscar, Marissa has worked for other brands including Diane Von Furstenberg and Kate Spade.

During my internship, the brand was in the process of redesigning their website. So a lot of my time was spent preparing assets for the new site. This included cropping photos, helping with photo shoots, laying out type assets, while also helping to maintain the old site. We would design things for every part of the Oscar brand. People from the other areas would bring project request forms to the creative team where then the whole team would work together to create them. Throughout this internship I was the most proud of how comfortable and easy the work became. Me and the other intern were given full project request forms to complete. Of course these projects passed through many eyes until completion but the fact that I knew I was able to complete that level of work really was exciting to know. 

My internship experience was definitely challenging at times because of the completely new world I was working in that was much different that what I had experienced at MICA. But once I got used to it I really learned so much valuable information about the process and stages of fashion brands. It is a busy world that is constantly one step ahead to be creating for the next season. I also learned a lot of about using the Adobe programs in a super efficient way. I feel like I understand the fashion world way more than I ever thought I would and could easily pick it up whenever. That will be the most helpful thing down the road when applying to other fashion brands. I expect a lot of changes in the next two years, so I am keeping my future open but at this point in time I would be thrilled to have my career end up being part of a creative team in the fashion world.

Bas Fisher International

I’m Audrey Gair, a rising sophomore in MICA’s painting department. This summer I interned for Bas Fisher Invitational alongside Jim Drain and Naomi Fisher. How this came to be is thanks to a long chain of fortunate events. During my senior year of high school I was selected as a finalist in the YoungArts competition. A panel of established artists served as our mentors during the week we spent with YoungArts. Naomi Fisher, a Miami based but internationally known artist was one of these panelists. The summer after I graduated high school I participated in a collaborative art installation with other high school students that was hosted by Locust Projects, an art space in Miami, Florida. The group took several field trips to artists studios in the area, one of them being Bas Fisher Invitational, the space created by and run by Naomi Fisher. I was able to see Naomi again, and this time I saw her space and her work in process. At the time, she had an intern from MICA. I remember thinking to myself that perhaps since this young woman from MICA was working for Naomi that I could one day as well. During winter break of my freshman year at MICA I visited Naomi’s studio with two other YoungArts alumni. At that time she mentioned to us that she would be happy to have any one of us as interns. I promptly emailed her saying that I was interested and she accepted! I was very lucky to be given such an opportunity so easily.

The Bas Fisher Invitational is an artists run alternative arts space located inMiami, FL. Naomi Fisher and Hernan Bas created it in 2004. Now Naomi Fisher and Jim Drain, an artist, run it the space. Their goal is to show new and upcoming artists they are inspired by in order to both help their careers and contribute to Miami’s growing art scene. Naomi and Jim directly worked with me and one other intern everyday.

My role was to assist in whatever Jim and Naomi were involved in doing. In the beginning of the summer they needed to pack their belongings to move to a new studio, so I learned how to archive their art and supplies. The other intern, Marla, and I created a system for Naomi to archive her work and be able to find and refer back to work easily. We also learned the proper way to wrap art so that it is archival and protected. We had a visit from Naomi’s friend who works at an art storage space that told us the best ways to wrap and protect work. 

We also were involved in the planning for Jim’s upcoming show in L.A. The show is in November 2012, but because it will be a solo show, he has already begun planning and creating work that he wants to have in the gallery. He shared with us his interests for the show: weaving, braiding, rugs, and textiles, and we joined him in the researching to strengthen his overall idea for the show. He asked us to look up patterns for friendship bracelets, which are usually made by knotting threads. We experimented with the patterns and presented what we learned about making them to Jim.

Naomi, besides archiving all of her work, was working on a grant for the space. I wrote a budget report for her of her proposed project using the computer program Excel. I learned the basics of Excel, and Naomi taught me about writing grants and putting together packets to present to panels. Getting grants is a necessity for an artist if they wish to make work or projects on a larger scale. 

In July, Naomi and Jim invited Marla and I to go with them to Providence, Rhode Island. Jim had recently been commissioned to make a large public sculpture to be in front of the United States Embassy in Morocco. His alma mater, RISD then invited him to teach a class during their winter session where the students in the class would help to develop the idea for the work. This all happened before I was his intern, so during the summer, he was invited to come back to the campus and finish the project using RISD’s facilities. Because, coincidentally, the Bas Fisher was moving locations at the same time, Jim and Naomi had no working studio space. They accepted RISD’s invitation and moved their studio practice to Providence. Because us interns had had such a successful two months so far working with them, they wished for us to come and continue working with them in Rhode Island. They provided us with transportation up there (we took a road trip up from Miami in a van) and living (Jim sublet a 3 bedroom apartment for Marla and I to live in for the month.)

In all, I suppose I am most proud of how integral a role I actually played in these few months of Naomi and Jim’s lives. We all become very close, and I didn’t feel like an intern at all, I felt more like a friend of theirs, or a family member. We got to know each other so well, when I did a task for them it was so much more than simply doing following directions. I was able to dissect what their intents were and could direct my energies towards what I knew they really needed. What I am taking away from this experience is a stronger work ethic. Naomi and Jim are nonstop workers. They dedicate everyday to art, and they make everyday an opportunity for creativity. This dedication is necessary to become a working artist. After working with them, my desire to become an artists has not wavered, but my idea of what  it actually takes has been clarified.

Noel Barhurst Studio

My name is Dana Chang and I’m a sophomore Photography major. Over the summer of 2012, I returned to Noel Barnhurst Photographer’s studio in San Francisco. Noel is a prominent food photographer is the San Francisco area.  Although I was based in the same studio from the previous year, my responsibilities had tripled within even my first day back. I found the internship through simple research while doing my senior project about food photography for high school. I cold called Noel one afternoon, and he agreed to be my mentor for the project. After commuting up to San Francisco a few times to use the studio for my project and sit in on a few photo shoots, I was hired within the month.

This year, I worked directly underneath Noel on set. Although my main title was First Photo Assistant, I had many other responsibilities that were not tied to the standard title. I was also in charge of Noel’s public image, specifically by representing his image on social media sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and even his portfolio website’s blog. 

I also had the responsibility of creating a new capabilities presentation, a keynote presentation that is sent to all of Noel’s inquiring prospective clients. The presentation tells a story about how the studio is run, introduces the studio crew, and depicts examples of past and current clients. In addition to working on set, I was essentially in charge of photographing around the studio, San Francisco, and creating clever ways to attract potential clients.

Working at the studio this summer was much more rewarding than the previous year. Being on set for the entire day allowed me to interact with clients as well as learn more about the equipment being used on set. Although I did not get to shoot any food photography for clients, I was able to use the studio and equipment/props after work for my own personal photography projects. This opportunity, in addition to experience in the business I plan on pursuing, is almost priceless.