As I scroll down the jobs on Craigs List, or read the art magazines, it's clear internships are a natural part of the art world.
It boils down to: a gallery or an artist gains free labor, while the intern gains experience and insight into the gallery / studio goings on.
I have jumped into volunteer work wholeheartedly in the past and have learned a heckuvalot as a result.
The biggest result of my go-go-go volunteer efforts resulted in me becoming an investigator. I had never thought about becoming an investigator, you can't go to school for this kind of thing, and you don't often run into a top notch, top of the heap, cream of the crop guy who asks: "You want to be an investigator?" and then says: "I'll teach you."
I had jumped into volunteer work, years and years of it, and now it had paid off: I had a skill, a profession. I had bumped into my niche, all the while looking elsewhere and scratching my head and wondering -- " what will I do with my life?" I was a private investigator. Ooooooh scary. (Not.)
Fast forward: 2010. Brooklyn, NY
Thank my lucky stars I know when I hear a once-in-a-lifetime offer and I have the balls to say yes, to jump in, hold on tight, keep my ears open, write it all down with pen always in my hand, and then go go go. Learn learn learn. Ask ask ask, and don't be afraid, don't be afraid to be foolish. Don't be afraid to fuck up. Don't be afraid to be looking afraid.
I wanted to see the studio; I wanted to get up close to this artist. I wanted to see the sculpture, two inches from my face. I wanted to see how it looked, inside the place where it's made, not in a gallery where it's looking all pretty and etcetera. I like the studio better than the gallery. I like the rehearsal hall better than the stage. I like the rough and not ready, the still-in-the-works art in the place where it gets made. In the place where it came to exist, from scratch to done.
Although I had never thought of jumping into an art world internship, my mindset of 'volunteer and see what happens' kicked in, naturally.
When I got a response to my interest in visiting an artist's studio, I was surprised and realized 'oh yeah, volunteer work is internship. Okay, that'll work.' Same experience, but called different things in the different worlds. Fine with me.
So in August ( 2010) I started an internship at a sculptor's studio.
Whoa!, I say, Whoa! I never could have seen this great experience coming down the pike.
On my first night back at home, after the first day at the studio, I could say only "massive," repeatedly, for a way to describe the art as well as the artist who makes it. The second, equally wonderful, thing that popped out, no-holds-barred:
"They're all so n-i-c-e."
I sounded like a broken record; my emails read like a broken record: "She's so gracious! Massive talent and massive grace! "
Grace, kindness, enormous skill and competence of the artist's team. I'm talking 4-5 persons who work with the artist, are her "staff," and are damn super capable and respectful of the world in which they work, and the artist at the helm.
It's great to be around the gems. They shine and they are not afraid to be kind.
Massive courage. That's what she is.
November 2011; still learning a ton at this place. wahoo. (today it was ..... back to the cow intestines. stinky-roo? not-so-much today, didn't come home smelly.) (see Ursula's pieces on the internet: 2 of her works that incorporate the lovely bovine stuff:
"Ocean Floor" and "Maglownica" -- they are beautiful works.