Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Carlson Artworks





My name is Sam Acuff and I am a General Fine Arts major. I initially found out about the internship through a friend of Dustin’s that happen to be a bartender where I was working as a chef several months ago. I had mentioned that I was looking for an internship involving steel work and she told me that Dustin came in regularly and that I should talk to him. The next time he came in (he always came to sit at the bar close to closing) I ended my shift and sat down next to him, introduced myself and asked about a position as an intern. That part was fairly simple.

Dustin is a complex guy. He runs a studio where he makes commissioned work (industrial, structural,  and decorative) as well as where he makes his own work as an artist. He also runs Gallery Four downtown and the Bicycle Gallery which is an experimental traveling gallery that goes to different art fairs. During my time with Dustin I was supervised mainly by Dustin but at times I was under the advisement of Adam Rush, an employee of Dustin. Adam has worked with Dustin on and off for over ten years and, like Dustin, is very knowledgeable and skilled.

As an intern I was at first tasked with the prep work (cutting, shaping, preparing, etc …) of materials before Dustin or Adam would use them for the work piece. After I convinced them of my skills I was tasked with some assembly, design and finishing work on multiple projects. In the time of my internship we completed; monolith cases  for the Maryland Historical Society, Structural Buttresses for a collapsing brick wall, the trailers for this years Bicycle Gallery show at the Alternative Art Fair at Artscape,  Pylons for the Smithsonian and a thirty foot bar for the Pen & Quill at the Chesapeake on Charles street. There was also work that was to be done in Dustin’s new building across from his studio on Homewood Ave. Dustin plans to convert the old warehouse to studio/living spaces much like he did with Gallery Four. A portion of my internship was aiding in the refurbishing where I learned other useful skills. Secondary to my work in the shop I assisted him in his gallery work and was brought into aspects of Dustin’s work including; writing show proposals, grant proposals,  gallery maintenance, art handling, design and curatorial processes and gallery sitting.

I’d say I am most proud if the fact that my work there secured a position at Carlson Artworks as a contractor. Of what I learned I think the most important things are the importance of craftsmanship and the importance of using the right tool for the job.  Simple but also words to live by. As far as the most important thing I took away is that there is nothing stopping you from doing what you want for a living as long as your willing to sacrifice and put in the work. It definitely helped clarify some career goals for me in that I am now more aware of the options out there and what is possible.

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