Studio Art and Art History Double Major, German Minor
Colin Coutts recently returned from his summer internship in Berlin, Germany,
where he worked in the studio of artist Erik Schmidt, preparing Schmidt’s canvases
and assisting with underpaintings for the ABC art exhibition in Berlin.
Colin also spent time working on paintings in his own studio and conducted research for his upcoming art history senior thesis, which involves East German artists and their reception within the mainstream art world culture. He received support for the internship from a Richter grant and the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst [DAAD, or German Academic Exchange Service].
Can you cite an example of how your in-classroom and/or out-of-the-classroom experiences at Knox benefited you in the internship?
I think my past two years studying German under Todd Heidt [assistant professor in modern languages-German] and Gizem Arslan [visiting assistant professor of German] were crucial in helping me acclimate to the city of Berlin. Without a prior grasp of German, I wouldn’t have been able to connect with nearly as many people.
I also think the classes such as Open Studio in the Fine Arts Department helped prepare me to produce my own work without the need of supervision.
How do you think this internship experience will benefit you in terms of your education, future career plans, personal development, etc.?
I think seeing Europe and especially Berlin really opened up my horizons, in terms of what I want to do after I graduate. I have made many contacts while in Germany, and I would like to return in the near future to either study or to pursue my interests in the arts.
What has been the coolest part of your internship?
The coolest part, I would say, has been the Alltagsleben [everyday life] that I’ve been able to experience while in Berlin. By being allowed to stay in Berlin for two months, I was able to get over the tourist aspect of the city and I could just focus on living and working in this city.
What inspired you to pursue the internship?
I was never really sure if I had a decided interest in the fine arts world, and I felt this opportunity would give me a chance to actually experience what I’ve heard so much about.
The Berlin art world is a very particular beast, but I was able to get unmediated access into what it takes to be a working artist in Berlin and to develop a presence internationally in the art markets.
What have you learned?
I’ve learned some of the nuances of the art world and how steeped it actually is in capitalist ideology. I’ve also gotten a sense of how an artist navigates this world and which battles they pick to assert their own agency as creators.