A Postcard From: Emily Oriel ’19

Internship Placement: Frudakis Studio

The most significant thing I’ve learned so far from my internship is that being a sculptor is a lot different than being a sculpture student. A lot different.

Emily Oriel and sculpture


The assignments don’t just appear as part of a course curriculum. The artists need to prove themselves every day and fight to get the work. There’s also all the mingling and interviews you should be doing to make sure you are “out there”. Finally, a huge component of being an independent artist is that you need to make your own schedule and be on top of it 24/7.

As part of my internship I am learning how to sculpt “the mask” — I am making my own self portrait in clay on top of a wooden surface that is serving as a frame and background. (The result could potentially be cast in bronze or any other medium later). This is a close study of the anatomy of the face as well as a way of learning figurative sculpture. The process of sculpting my own face teaches me a lot about myself and allows me to practice the skill of turning a 2-D mirror reflection or printed images into a 3-D product.

Sculpting in the studio also allows me to invest time in planning my upcoming senior thesis in sculpture and better understand how much effort and time the execution of certain ideas would require. I am witnessing the planning behind big projects the artist is considering and learning to pay attention to many details I was not aware of prior to the internship. Another aspect of learning (I did not expect) is the exposure to many different sculpting styles; I get to meet many artists that work with or are friends with Zenos Frudakis and each of them is an inspiration. I am seeing how artists never stop growing, criticizing each other, and asking one another for help and advice. The collaborations allow everyone to produce better work and avoid getting fixed on problems they encounter in the process.

The other part of my internship is to create a catalogue raisonne. I am documenting a comprehensive listing of all the art works produced by Zenos Frudakis in the past 40 years. This is an interesting project because the approach to gathering the information I seek needs to change all the time. I have used various methods to collect information about the works such as online searching, interviews, reviewing thank you letters, receipts, resumes the artist submitted over the years, and connecting with people who know the artist. I also utilized many of the resources the college offers such as the library databases, meeting with a librarian who specializes in art history (thank you Laura Surtees), and reviewing published Catalogs that feature similar works.

I am expecting my internship to continue to be fascinating and fulfilling and look forward to seeing my projects completed.