My experience at Graphicstudio was amazing. Everyone welcomed me with open arms and I learned something new every day. Not only did I have the opportunity to meet a few artists and learn under professional printers, but I was given the liberty to work on a personal project of my own.
I spent my first few days learning tasks around the shop that consisted of cutting large sheets of paper off of a roll, sanding down the edges of Ed Ruscha’s Oh/No books, and cutting very large pieces of cardboard to be used in transporting finished prints. I also organized a few things around the Lithography studio and helped to ink up a plate in the Etching studio. Tom Pruitt, Tim Baker, and Matt Squires answered any questions I had along the way, and I definitely asked many.
The only printmaking experience I had prior to interning at Graphicstudio consisted of a beginners level printmaking class at Hillsborough Community College and an Intermediate Intaglio class at the University of South Florida. My limited knowledge of the printing world was expanded through teachings and experience around the studios. As I worked on various tasks, Tom, Tim, and Matt would step in any time I needed extra assistance. About halfway through my internship, I decided to start on my own project. I decided to make a print from an etched copper plate. I chose to work on a project in the etching studio because I am slightly more familiar with the medium, although I did learn a few more tricks and practices that led to cleaner, higher quality prints. I started with a graphite drawing/design on drawing paper, transferred the image to a copper plate covered with asphaltum, very carefully and lightly drew the design onto the copper plate by removing the asphaltum with a thin needle tool to expose the copper, etched the copper in an acid bath, and covered the plate in a very thin coat of steel. From there, I inked it up, ran it through the press, and eventually produced a print. I was given paper to use and I was able to make as many prints as I had hoped. By the end of my internship, I produced 25 finished prints. The prints were then spritzed with water, covered in tissue paper, and put into a print dryer. That way, the final prints are dry and flattened.
I plan to continue with printmaking whenever I have the opportunity in the future. It is definitely one of my favorite media to work with and I am extremely thankful to have been given the opportunity to learn as much as I did. I had no idea what exactly the internship would consist of upon my start of the summer and I do not regret a second of it. Most students are required to do a three credit hour internship but in my case, I did four credit hours. This equates to about 120 hours. At first it sounded like a large number but I was ready for a challenge. I would much rather spend my time learning and gaining work experience with professionals in the art world, as opposed to signing up for another class. I feel I benefitted much more interning this summer than I would have in a classroom setting. I did my best to absorb any information I could. I only scratched the surface on all of the work that is done in a studio such as Graphicstudio and from what I saw over the course of 2 months, there is a ton that goes into the planning, designing, production, and sale of an art piece or body of work. There is also a lot of energy and time spent to produce the artwork in the best manner possible.
The staff at Graphicstudio seem to really enjoy working with each other and they will do what it takes to get the job done. They reminded me more of a small family rather than a group of coworkers. I can only hope I get the opportunity to someday work with them again.
Studio Art Undergraduate and Graphicstudio Intern
College of The Arts
University of South Florida