My name is Reese Siedlecki and I am Drawing major. Initially I approached one of my drawing teachers, Lauren Boilini, about possibly being a studio assistant for her this summer. She was unsure at the time if she was going to be going abroad or not this summer for a residency in Europe, and when it was confirmed that she was accepted to the residency she told me about one of her studio mates at School 33 Art Center in Federal Hill, Chad Tyler. Lauren gave me his contact information and told me he would possibly need an assistant this summer for some of his projects. I sent him an e-mail inquiring if he did need one, and then sent him my resume and a portfolio highlighting sculptural work I’ve done since that was the nature of the art I would be helping him with. He promptly replied and accepted me as his intern, I met with him during spring semester to see his studio space, meet him in person, and to figure out a basic outline of when I would be working with him over the summer.
Chad Tyler is an exhibit designer for the National Aquarium but I helped him work on his own personal projects. Our initial main project wound up being set aside and we had to change our plans due to large projects Chad had to complete for his job in addition to Chad’s work being accepted into shows. So the two main projects I worked on were the Animal Kingdom: Untitled series and the Animal Kingdom: The General State of Things piece. For the General State of Things piece I was responsible for recasting and replacing all of the plastic animals used in the piece. For the Untitled series I plaster casted several sets of the animal molds to be used in the final compositions. After finishing the plastic animals my focus shifted to completing the plaster casts. Chad and I constructed a wooden template to use so we could create different sized pieces for the Untitled series. Once I had casted enough plaster animals I was given the freedom to create final compositions of my own for the Untitled series. After casting the compositions into their plaster base I then shifted my responsibilities to cleaning and finishing the pieces I made so they would be ready for mounting.
Working with Chad I learned so many new skills and techniques that I’m excited to bring back into my own art practice. I feel more confident now working with drills and saws and other materials I would have been apprehensive working with such as plastic resin. One of the biggest take-aways I have from this experience is overcoming the fear of asking for help from others. Chad was a fantastic teacher, he was very patient with me and was always there and ready to help me should I need it but never hovering over me. In fact Chad gave me a lot of freedom and really wanted to hear my input and suggestions for the projects we worked on. This experience has given me a view into one of many paths of an artist, as Chad manages to work in a full-time creative position while simultaneously working on freelance projects as well as his own independent art. In terms of helping me clarify my own career goals, it hasn’t necessarily narrowed down anything but rather it’s given me more options to choose from.