Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Thank You!

I've learned a great deal this summer about being a business owner. There are many of ways to continue making art and run a successful work place. Working at Eiland Arts Center is just another learning step in my career. I appreciate Nicole for welcoming me into her business home and for sharing her business knowledge. As an artist I hope to create a business that will be a part of the community that supports young kids to make art work.

Thank you University of The Arts for allowing me to learn so much this summer. Thank you for allowing me to follow along with the summer programs of other students like me. I am greatful to have a chance to have had such a successful and productive summer.

Even though this summer is coming to an end, I will continue to incorporate the things I've learned to my everyday practices.

If there is a chance to do another fellowship next year I would love to. There's so much to learn!

As I enter my senior year as a Photography major, I'll be practicing all of the ways to create a succussful business. I know with the skills that I have learned I will be able to find or create a good job and continue to make art. 

The End!

Summer Fellows is finally finished, and my internship with artist Michele Kishita has been absolutely incredible! It saddens me that my time with her is done, but it is great to know I can always contact her about any of my future endeavors. I am so grateful to her for not only this experience, but for giving me the opportunity to succeed in my career moving forward.

Since starting this journey I have made leaps and bounds in terms of learning about technique, professionalism, and dedication. Michele is an extremely driven artist making her passion her career. She has shown me that although this career path may not always be the easiest, if you put in the time, effort, and knowledge of what it takes to succeed, you will.

In the span of only a few months I have made business cards, had my first art exhibition, helped hang a professional group exhibition, and so much more. None of this would have even been possible without Michele, which I am eternally thankful for. Having spent so much time with Michele I got to know her as a painter, and as an individual. Watching her create her pieces whether it was prints, commissions, or paintings was truly amazing. She considers every detail in her process of making, and I intend to do the same when creating my own pieces. Michele took me to art shows, introduced me to her professional colleagues, and allowed me to assist her when hanging her upcoming show at James Oliver Gallery. She recommended important art books to me, showed me well known art magazines, and gave me advice about Instagram information that was especially helpful for me being a young artist. Learning all of this new information at times could be overwhelming, but I am so happy I know all of this now as I go into my senior year.

It was inspiring for me to watch Michele create her work, and seeing it produced from start to finish was even more exciting. After interning with her I have developed a deeper understanding of the materials she uses, and how she uses them within the pieces. By preparing her panels, organizing her paints, working on her installation piece, and just working in her studio I feel I understand her process even more. Her attention to detail and way of working are vital to the content of her artwork. The linear forms, color choices, line work, and overall compositions are taken into consideration every time she paints. She studies, observes, and problem solves which all contribute to the creative process. From these observations I plan to take in what I have learned and apply that same thoughtfulness to my own paintings.

Michele Kishita in my opinion is truly a remarkable artist, and I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with her this summer. I can’t wait to see what she will do next with her beautiful pieces, and in the art world!

Paper Work

Every summer day wasn't filled with fun times helping the children with camp. Some days we had to do the things that weren't much fun at all. Paper work has its place in every job setting. Whether it be important files for students or basic instructions for payments. Every company has them. On my last day at the Eiland Arts Center I helped Nicole type in a great deal of emails for the photography business in her company. The server that she uses allows her to send important information to hundreds of customers. Each customer will receive emails about events, their photos and camp openings for the next year. At first I didn't think that it would take me that long but I was wrong. Typing in each email and name took a few hours. Until that day I had never heard of the program Mail Chimp. It allows you to send everything to your mailing list all at once. It's more of the modern day phone book. Or a digital way to get in touch with people all at once.

The importance of having physical paper goes a long way. Sometimes computers don't work or something might not be backed up properly.

Filing paper work out and keeping it organized is crucial to making sure that business stays in order. The piles that I did help type were in a certain numerical order that Nicole arranged.

Making sure that things are kept in proper order are very important to running a business without chaos.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Station Cafe

I've mentioned the art work and forgot to mention the cafe! Well this is a earth friendly, vegetarian cafe. And even though I am not a vegetarion I can say that I've enjoyed every drink of coffee or sandwich here. I've tried a variety of things; the roasted pepper and mozzarella cheese sandwich, the kidney bean brownie and peanut butter cookies. My favorite I must say has to be the chocolate covered coffee beans and the smoothies. Larisa shared the chocolate covered beans with me once and I was hooked from there. The smoothies were also a great way to start every morning with the children.

Even though the summer is coming to an end at Eiland Arts Center and The Station Cafe I'll be back for sure to get chocolate covered coffee beans and smoothies.

Be sure to visit The Station Cafe in Merchantville, NJ. You're sure to find something you'll love.

P.S. I've been looking at a couple of the hand made books in there and I'll be getting one of those too. This place has a never ending variety of things to love and its all made by local artists right here in our neighborhood!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Careers and Commissions

As the summer is coming to an end so is my internship with Michele. Looking back on my entire summer I have realized how much I have learned from her, and from myself in the process. She has taught me skills and techniques that will help me tremendously as I move forward in my career, and in life.
The other week Michele took me to see an exhibition at Urban Art Gallery here in Philadelphia. We talked about the current work displayed there, the solo exhibition she previously had at the gallery, and about the art world in general. We had lunch together and she gave me a lot of advice about what she has done in her career, and important information I need to know as a young artist. I was even given homework which was to write ten things I want in the next ten years, and how much time it takes to achieve each. This was very difficult for me because I am not used to deciding what I want in terms of the future, and it was stressful especially with graduation on the way. But it was also a really great exercise for me to document what I want in life, because it pushed me to list a set of goals and create a plan of how to achieve them. I explained to her that the future scares me in that I am not exactly sure what I want to do career wise with painting. She recommended certain classes I could take to work on technical skills in fine arts which I definitely need, and said that I could always come to her when I have opportunities in the art field. I am extremely grateful to her for this because she is incredibly knowledgeable about which opportunities are worth pursuing, and which ones are not.
I have continued to wrap the string for Michele’s installation piece as she finishes working on her paintings for her group exhibition. Having the opportunity to see a professional artist creating such large amount of work is amazing to me. During this studio time we have also discussed topics such as her commission work, art advisors, and others who purchase her work. I asked her how she determines prices for her pieces, especially commissions. She sent me the contracts she uses which includes her artwork commission agreement and exhibition agreement. She explained to me that she prices her work by the square foot above 12”x12” in size. We even created a price point for my work 70 cents/sq. ft. which I will be using for my first commission piece I was recently asked to do!
This coming week will sadly be my last, and I will be helping Michele hang her show. I’ll let you know how it goes and more!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The End

Working with ETD this summer has been absolutely eye opening, not only in terms of a dancer but of how a company works together realistically to create work and actively seek ways of improving themselves. Throughout these past 2 months, I’ve been able to work with many different aspects of the company and grow as an artist, mover, and person overall.

I think the most important thing I learned from Eryc was how to present yourself and talk to people. He is so sociable and driven when he talks about the company. His confidence and trust in himself allows for an incredible marketability for the company's success. He is constantly searching for new ways to grow and expand the ideas that will help build on this work, and does not give up or waiver when something doesn't work out or a plan gets sidetracked. His ability to adapt to situations and keep driving forward is something I will definitely take away from this as I move into making my own work for my final year of school. Advocating and believing in my own artistic decisions has always been a weak point of mine and watching Eryc at work has really inspired me to take action in my own agency.

Although I was never able to get a good quality camera for the media aspect of the job, I did learn a lot about how to work together to achieve someone’s artistic vision. Eryc has a very distinct aesthetic that is significantly different than my, more simplistic vision. Because of this fact, I had difficulty understanding and shaping the work I was producing to match the work that he liked to present for the company.  Eventually, I was able to create something that we both found satisfactory, but it wasn’t easy for me. Even just in the noticing of this, I learned a lot about how I deal with problems and how to work through them.

In terms of actually creating work, the dancers taught me how to collaborate and listen to one another in order to continue creating and evolving a dance. I was always impressed by how each person would feel comfortable sharing ideas or thoughts on how to improve, connect, and create functional movement. Their willingness to “workshop” ideas led to a collective understanding of the work and a deep connection to its outcome.

Being an artist is hard, being a company is even harder. I’m constantly amazed by how much work Eryc, Nicole, and Andrew put into keeping the company growing and running successfully. The work is never really done, there is no stopping point, even breaks in time tend to make you slide backwards. It really is a hill with no areas to rest, you’re either pushing forward or sliding backwards and it truly is exhausting. Luckily they all work together to get the job done, but i’m glad I had the opportunity to take a look inside the inner workings and lend a helping hand.

video video

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Home Depot, Colors, Cardboard, and What it Means to be an Artist

Sometimes, I am a fine artist, especially if the standards which a piece is considered fine art is abstract and subjective. For example, my stick figures are really nice if I choose to consider myself a minimalist and if my audience appreciates minimalism. Perhaps, if I put two complementary colors adjacent to each other on a canvas, it would classify as a Color Field painting. Of course, the validity of my assertions about art depends on ones qualifying factors of artwork and the standards that must be met to be deemed an artist. I admit I’m not a real fine artist, and my stick figures are not as stick figure-ish as they could be. At heart, and by practice, I’m a creative writer and the pictures I create are most vivid when they are illustrated by narrative and poetic devices, but Veronica looks past my visual artistic shortcomings and that’s what I love about working with her.

Not too long ago, we went to the Home Depot in South Philly to pick out warm and cool color templates for the More Stately Mansion Exhibition’s free Zine (which my poetry will be featured in, by the way). Though my co-intern, Emily is a recent Fine Arts graduate (excuse me if my terminology is wrong) and far more qualified to make literally anything aesthetically pleasing than I am, I begged to get my hands involved with the production of the magazine. After spending about thirty minutes in Home Depot being extremely indecisive about which colors to choose and which cool colors I thought looked best with specific warm colors, we headed back to her home where she stationed me on the sidewalk with a large square of card board, all of our color scheme temples, rubber gloves, and spray adhesive. It was early summer when the heat was settling into the air and cementing into the ground. Warm air blew gently semi-frequently, so sitting outside was almost like sitting in a drying machine. She told me to paste the warm and cool colors together and to spray the adhesive at an angle so the wind wouldn’t steal the glue. She emphasized the importance of the template cards being as perfectly parallel against each other as possible, and then, left me alone to start the task.

My calves and thighs trembled from squatting to avoid sitting on the hot pavement. I caked glue onto the board a few times because the wind snatched some of it away. Some of the template cards dried too soon and had to be sprayed again. Some cards dimensions weren’t equal, and subsequently, did not match evenly. There were maybe two-hundred cards to paste to each other, and often, I lost focus due to boredom from monotonous movement. As easy as I thought it would be to stick two colors together, it simply wasn’t. The excitement of being a fine artist softened as I became frustrated with my own incompetence, but I've felt that way with writing too before. Maybe being an artist isn’t always about being in love with your craft, but instead, dedicating yourself to it. Struggling with those templates taught me that, at the very least, being an artist is trying to align and make things come together despite all of the elements working to keep them apart. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


On my fifth day, I helped with brainstorming ideas for an advertisement that would go in some Philly magazine in the wedding section. We tried thinking of short phrases that would capture what Remark Glass does. One thing they have started to offer is taking bottles from somebody’s wedding and turning them into bowls or vases or cups so they can have that “memory” forever in a different form.

Client work

“Remark Glass” is their company that creates dinnerware and kitchen ware using recycled bottles. They also work with clients outside of the company. Some things they do are fabrication, cold working and glass blowing. My fourth day, I worked on a piece for one of their clients. There were 8 large pyramid shapes made of 3 mirrors. Previously, they “bedazzled” parts of the mirror with Swarovski crystals using a non-permanent adhesive (because the client wasn’t sure if she wanted the crystals to be permanent or not). The client wanted the crystals taken off and reapplied with a permanent adhesive as she had made a decision for the crystals to be permanent. I took the panels off that the crystals were attached to, scraped the excess off the mirrors with a razor blade, then cleaned the mirrors with windex and denatured alcohol.   

Cold Working

My third day, I did a lot of cold working. Cold working is a process where you grind and/or cut the glass to manipulate it when it is in a solid state (cold). At Remark glass, they like to use every part of the bottle if possible so nothing goes to waste. I cut 100 rings from different bottle necks. You can get about 5 rings out of each bottle neck. They use the rings as color samples for clients and they also work with a jeweler who incorporates these rings into her jewelry. After cutting the rings and washing them, I loaded all of them into a kiln to be fired. We fire one side to polish them, then we flip them over to fire polish the other side so there are no sharp edges.

Prepping for commission

On the second day I found and cleaned 15 more bottles to be fillers for the light fixture just in case the fixture needed more bottles after installing it in the bar. Then, the rest of the day I packed each individual bottle and labeled the boxes.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Last week was fun.

They’ve been sending me around the city to collect checks from different housing networks that they work with for their outreach program so I've had a good time exploring and getting to know the metro system in order to get from place to place. Even just walking around and getting a sense of direction is nice, and getting to be outside in this great weather is definitely a bonus.

I came in on Monday, which I usually don't do so that I could be a part of the board meeting that they were planning to have. Unfortunately about 3 hours before they were supposed to meet, one of the member's had to cancel last minute prompting Eryc to postpone the whole thing. Since the board is comprised of a select few people, even one person not being there really made it not worth having. This was kind of disappointing as I was looking forward to seeing how the meeting was going to run and the topics that would be discussed between the members, but we still got a lot of work done. I had the task of putting together and organizing a big informational packet about the company for each member. It was very crafty, which I love, so I had a good time doing that.

I stayed over until Tuesday and finished the rest of those informational packets and then got to organizing the drive folder so that it would be easier to access documents. A lot of the information needed for the packets was scattered about in different folders, so I made a master folder of everything that it contained for future packets to be much easier to make.

Thursday the publicist was set to observe rehearsal so that she could write up little blurbs about the pieces they would be performing for the season. Stress levels were high because Eryc really wanted to put his best foot forward and was getting nervous about the pieces not being ready. I reassured him that they really did look good and that the dancers were going to do a great job. When he went up to get the publicist, the dancers did a run through and asked for notes from me. I helped them clean a few parts that needed a second look at and the result was a lot more confidence and togetherness from the group. I had to leave early but Eryc said the run was a great success!

I really enjoy talking to Eryc to get an idea of what he wants from the group and then watching him implement that in rehearsal. It helps me to see what he’s looking for and how he goes about getting those results. In turn, I get a better sense of what works and what doesn't work when it comes to prompts and direction for a group piece.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Prepping for a show!

Kay had a huge solo show Vestiges at PCT Gallery and Penn College and she showed me all about how to pack and label everything, we talked a lot about what is expected from a professional artist in regards to packaging. Also what a huge difference it makes when you are sending your artwork to a gallery and you are not in control of who unpacks your work and how it is displayed. 

First we spent a lot of time unpacking each piece from her storage, checking everything was ready for display. I hand stitched some minor holes in some pieces, added new hanging wires and hand sewed new labels on every piece that included the title and year it was made. Once that was done we measured and inputed all the pieces into a spreadsheet so that Kay knows for future shows and sales the exact size of everything, where it was at the time.

We then hung each individual piece on the wall, photographed it and printed the image in black and white. I folded each piece trying to avoid as little creasing as possible so that the art pieces wouldn't need steaming when received then using thick plastic sheet packing wrapped each piece and sealed with folded tape loops allowing for each opening and hopefully minimal damage to packing materials. I then taped the image of how the piece should look along with a title label. It sounded at first like a lot of extra steps, however this ensured that the gallery on the other side knew exactly what pieces went with what, how they looked and if they were unsure of art piece titles they could check the packaging AND the hand sewn able on each piece. It also meant when we got all the pieces shipped back to us at thinned of the summer it would be fast and easy for us to store and have an organized inventory of all of Kay's artworks. 

One of the biggest take aways I took for this whole process is how important is it to be multi talented and organized as a freelance fine artist. Doing solo shows does not always result in multiple sales and usually all you get is a packing budget offered from the Gallery, so looking at the big picture you could just break even financially from the show but you are also getting a lot of exposure having a show in a beautiful space and adding experience to your list of shows and resume. SO it is so important that you find ways to save, i.e packing your own art pieces, using supplies that can be reused and doing it right from the beginning so that you don't have to keep investing in the boring stuff like packing plastic sheets! It really opened my eyes as to how important it is to think through every step of what makes an artist. You can't just make beautiful thought provoking art, you have to be business minded and be willing to make sacrifices like putting in a lot of hours work just to get your work out there and seen! 

I hope this post informed you guys and your work as much as it did for me!

Ornella :)