Monday, September 21, 2015

Tony Shore Studio Assistant

My name is Sami Alwani and I am a second semester junior Drawing major. This Fall I interned for working fine artist Tony Shore as a studio assistant. I had a friendly teacher student working relationship with Tony for about a year and a half prior to starting on the internship and had taken his painter Drawing studio class and his six credit, self-directed Themes and Narrative class and so we got to know each other pretty well. In my winter semester of last year he approached me and asked me to intern for him in the following Fall semester of this year, which I thought would be a fabulous opportunity to learn and work under a practicing artist with a developed studio practice.

Tony is a fine art painter who has two main bodies of work as an artist. The body of work he is most well-known for and has been developing for most of his artistic career are his black velvet paintings of his lower-middle class white family in Baltimore. His second body of work is a series of sporting art, fox hunting paintings he does mainly surrounding the Elkridge Harford County Country Club. Tony was my only supervisor during the course of the internship as I was working as a studio assistant for his independent studio practice.

I was responsible for a large variety of different tasks, one of the staples was streamlining organization in the studio and trying to facilitate workflow by rearranging workspaces and preparing materials etc. As I went further along in the internship I was given opportunities to do underpaintings for two of a new group of small fox hunting paintings Tony was starting which involved blocking in line work of his photo reference via projector and laying in flat colors under his supervision. This was probably the part of the intership I was proudest of, but I was also very honored to be actually included as a model in a new black velvet painting that Tony did while I was working for him. I was involved in the process of collecting documentation for this painting in setting up and being part of the photoshoot for our staging of the scene.Apart from this I also worked setting up two shows that Tony was involved in over the course of the semester, including an elaborate pop-up show and dinner at the country club I mentioned as part of an event collaborating with the Creative Alliance.

It was very valuable for me as an art student to get a really pretty realistic taste of the life and working practice of a fine artist involved in many traditional aspects of a fine art career including setting up exhibitions, taking commissions and more nuts and bolts aspects of actual painting and drawing processes as well as reference gathering. In terms of how this has helped me clarify my career goals I should say that this semester was a transition period for me in terms of having one foot in the world of fine art and another in the world of illustration and cartooning, I have moved more in the direction of the latter, although my experience as an intern and studio assistant at Tony Shore studios was wholly fulfilling and rewarding.

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