Artist Internship Success Guidelines

Artist internships are important practical learning exercises. The internship is an opportunity for you to get essential practical experience in a commercial context. Production quality is strictly enforced, and the realities of doing art for third parties are explored in unavoidable detail. Working to commercial deadlines and doing professional standard production work are an education in themselves. You can learn a lot, earn valuable references for future jobs and make lifelong friendships in the process. 

Finding artist internships

Internships are regularly advertised, and are usually provided by:

  • Advertising agencies
  • Commercial art firms
  • Some marketing agencies
  • Graphic design companies
  • Art studios doing commercial materials 
  • Art galleries

The different kinds of internships must be explored regarding their content values. Some internships can give experience at a tangent to career intentions, and it's possible to go off course for career goals. Always make sure the internship relates to your definite career and employment roles. 

Note: Unlike other careers, in art, having a choice of internships and the ability to get experience in selected areas can also be a definite positive. It's advisable to do a thorough investigation of available internships and contact providers directly. Because of the obvious dichotomies between internships, you may be able to cover a range of career options by a combination of internships with different providers.

Internship issues

Your skills, talents and personal motivations are directly related in a very practical way. That's exactly the relationship to the job art professionals will be looking for in interns.

These are the big issues in artist internship interviews:

Technical skills: Ability to work with media and related skill levels. 

Knowledge base: The understanding of production techniques. 

Communications: Commercial art is a true professional communications scenario. You need to communicate effectively with both co-workers and clients very well. 

Motivation: Your motivation as an artist is very important. The successful applicant is always a person whose commitments are within the field of the internship.

Portfolio: Needed to show relevant skills, and appropriate levels of technical experience in the area covered by the internship.

Interview questions

The interview must deal with the internship issues systematically to find the right applicant. The provider is looking for an employee, as much as to give training and experience. Many of the technical  and knowledge base questions will be asked in "How To" form. Each answer requires functional, clear steps explaining the stages of processes. 

Technical skills:

  • Use of media and materials in specific forms
  • Production methods
  • Composition techniques and issues
  • Quality issues

Knowledge base:

  • Production issues like techniques, handling materials, drafting, use of basic schematics for commercial art

  • Commercial scale production, copies, etc.

  • Productivity, working with deadlines

Communications:

Your ability to communicate well throughout the interview is a key requirement. Think before you speak, and structure your answers clearly.  

Motivation:

Motivation questions relate to your interests, your future plans, and your specific goals. Stick to the core issues, make it clear why you're interested in the position, and how it relates to your motivations. 

Portfolio:

Your portfolio can be a big help to you during interviews. A good portfolio is a real competitive edge for artists. It proves your technical skills and knowledge base. You can show direct experience relating to the internship through your work.