Art Students Experience Living and Working in Los Angeles
Interns Ellie Goldrup and Jane Christensen worked with notable artists while experiencing life in a major art center
Intern Ellie Goldrup working with Elizabeth Huey in her studio - photo by Aaron Farley
December 17, 2017
Before this past summer Ellie Goldrup probably would have told you she could see herself living in Los Angeles. After completing an internship in LA with Elizabeth Huey, Goldrup said she feels much more confident about the city. Jane Christensen, who roomed with Goldrup while interning with Monique Prieto over the summer, agreed. Experiential learning funding helped cover their expenses, making it possible for them to live and work in LA for an extended period of time.
In addition to experiencing a city with a strong contemporary art scene, both Goldrup and Christensen observed and participated in the art-making process as interns for influential artists.
Goldrup spent 20 hours with Huey in the studio each week, contacting galleries and answering emails, as well as preparing palettes and stenciling off sections of Huey’s paintings. Goldrup’s favorite assignments involved researching historical people, events and spaces that interested Huey, and providing source images for her to paint from.
“It was really valuable to see the process Elizabeth went through to narrow ideas and transform information into a successful painting,” Goldrup said. “Observing her process had a lasting impact on me and made me want to refine my own approach to research and art-making.”
“Observing [Huey’s] process had a lasting impact on me and made me want to refine my own approach to research and art-making.”
In her internship Christensen helped with a range of responsibilities in Prieto’s studio, including gessoing large canvases and panels and preparing materials for two exhibitions. She also accompanied Prieto to a meeting with one of the gallery owners for her show in LA. Prieto served as a mentor for Christensen by viewing images of her work and providing critical feedback, offering advice on graduate school and demonstrating how to effectively manage a studio.
Christensen and Goldrup originally met their artists when they spoke at BYU as part of the Art Department Lecture Series in 2016. Professor Peter Everett brought the two artists to BYU, where he introduced them to the students and facilitated the internship opportunities. Everett continued to mentor Christensen and Goldrup throughout the internship process – helping them secure funding and communicating with them and the artists they worked with throughout the summer, including during a visit to LA.
Both students said they were able to learn from their artists as people, and not just as artists. Although Goldrup was intrigued by “how [Huey] thinks about spaces and architecture and their emotional holding capacities,” she was ultimately drawn to her humility and kindness when she attended Huey’s lecture. Similarly, Christensen admired how gracefully Prieto seemed to balance her work and family life.
“It was important for me to see it is possible to be respected in a major community and also have a family and care about your kids and other things besides the celebrity culture that exists in these bigger cities,” Christensen said.
As a result of her internship, Christensen said she has become more confident in taking initiative as an artist, including reaching out to curators and nonprofit art centers. Recent efforts have connected her with a Salt Lake-based curator, who will include some of her photos in an upcoming show at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. The group show, called Desire Lines, will take place from January 26 to May 26, 2018.
Christensen, a recent BFA graduate, and Goldrup, a senior in the same program, are currently researching MFA programs. Both are planning to apply to programs in LA.
Priscilla Stewart will present her research on place- and ecology-based education at the National Art Education Association’s National Convention, the premier conference for K12 art educators and university researchers