My name is Taylor Smith-Hams, and I’m a Sophomore Painting and Humanistic Studies major. Over the summer of 2013, I worked as a studio assistant for painter Paul Wackers. I contacted several artists in January and February of this year, people whose work I had both long admired and recently discovered. I sent out emails with my resume and cover letter, and Paul was the most interested of the artists I contacted. After several email exchanges and few phone interviews, Paul invited me to work for him in his Brooklyn studio from June through August.
In the studio, I completed various daily tasks including washing brushes, preparing panels, assisting with painting, purchasing supplies, documenting work, and packing and shipping work. As the summer progressed, Paul increased my responsibilities, eventually giving me broader painting assignments with which I had more freedom. I am most proud of these small projects, as they demonstrate the trust and respect I developed with the artist and expanded my painting abilities.
Interning with Paul was a valuable experience that exposed me to the realities and challenges of life as a working artist. I gained useful skills, particularly in regard to art handling, and picked up several new painting tricks and techniques. I also had the privilege of meeting several of Paul’s artist friends who were kind enough to talk with me about their respective work and careers. My time in Brooklyn gave me a realistic picture of a fine art career and solidified my goal of combining art with the other fields I am interested in, particularly politics and public service, to build a rounded, diverse professional life.