My name is Sara Dittrich and I am going into junior year as an Interdisciplinary Sculpture major with a culture & politics minor. Over the summer of 2012 I interned in NYC as Romy Scheroder’s artist assistant. Romy is a sculptor whose main medium usually involves manipulating vintage wood chairs. Romy also balances her practice with a full time job as a shoe designer. I lived and worked with Romy for five weeks in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I was introduced to Romy when I stumbled upon her work on a blog called E Minor and I bookmarked the link to her website. Last summer (2011) I sent out emails to artists I had found online asking if any would be interested having an assistant for the summer of 2012. I told them I was a student at MICA and gave them the link to my website. I was surprised how many responses I received back. Romy however seemed the most interested, and I was excited she was located in NYC. I kept in contact with her and met her in NYC over winter break. From there we made plans for me to stay with her in NYC for five weeks of the summer.
In Bushwick I started my internship by helping Romy complete a piece called NP2S, or No Place 2 Sit. It was an installation of oddly joined chairs that was to be installed on Governors island. Romy received a small grant through the Figment foundation to do this piece, and it was part of several other sculptures funded by this organization for the island. It is installed there from June until August. For the opening weekend there was a huge festival on the island full of other artsy activities and performances. After this piece was installed I was tasked with documenting some of Romy’s recent drawings. I also researched registries, grants, and University galleries that might be a good fit for Romy’s work. Romy also took me to several gallery openings and showed me the ways of networking/schmoozing. We also went to an auction where Romy had donated a piece. I also had the chance to meet several other artists and see their own studios. Some of these were Romy’s friends and others I reached out to on my own. All this on top of being able to explore the museums and environment the city offers was very overwhelming and exciting!
I am most proud of the contacts I was able to make while in New York. I met some artists from Prague (where I am planning on studying abroad Spring 2013) and also some woodworkers who make sculptures similar to my own. I believe they will be especially helpful to have in the future and use as a resource. My biggest take-away from my experience is that there are a million ways to be a successful artist in NYC, and no two artists do it quite the same way. Wanting to be an artist living and working in NYC is not as unrealistic of a goal as some people make it out to be. I learned that studio artists all have some kind of side job, whether its commission, part time, or fulltime work.
Above all, my eyes were really opened to the world of NYC, and all the great resources it has to offer. It confirmed that I would like to be a working artist in NYC after I finish school. I would like to get involved with a woodshop there/furniture design collective, or maybe start my own along with pursuing my personal studio work.