“HPD” or the Department of Housing Preservation and Development is a government agency that monitors the actions of the owners and tenants throughout New York City. It receives all the complaints that owners or tenants have in a certain apartment, building, or any legal unit that a person can live in (basement, cellars, etc…). For example, if a tenant has a heating problem and they notified the owner about it but refused to fix it, the tenant calls 311 and speaks to the HPD department, where they file a complaint. Then the department will look into the complaint and investigate if the complaint is right. In that case the department will contact the owner and force him to fix the heat. But if the owner didn’t comply with what HPD says, the department will send people to fix it at the owner expense. Same thing goes when an owner has a complaint about a tenant behavior in an apartment, such as breaking a window or a door intentionally, without paying to repair it, the owner contacts the HPD department which will go through the same steps that I mentioned earlier. HPD is one of the most important departments in the City of New York, which ensures that owners and tenants are behaving under the law. This is a brief preview of the department that I’m interning in. I started my internship here six months ago, but I had to extend it for this semester, because of the internship class.
This week continued with the same project. The invitation for the ,” Best of New York”, award dinner. It was actually a pleasure continuing this project because , it was a project we started from the ground up. This week I spent placing type on the invitation where it needed to go, doing research and most importantly finding out which typeface is going to suit the invitation best. Granted searching for a typeface might not sound like a lot of work, but it took me 1 hour to find the right typeface. Searching through one thousand fonts is no easy task.
Once the typeface was selected, Trade Gothic (bold 20, and oblique) I walked up to Al to confirm that it was the right pick, I ended that project with a therapeutic smile. Al then calls me to the back to start a photo shoot. The invite, this year, is to honor environmentalist, so Al thought it best to have something of a nature feel to it. He sketched out something quick and minutes later he had the same plant that he used as reference. I asked why cant we photoshop the plant onto the invite? Al made it clear, and i understood, that the invite would look better if the photos were taken from real life instead of from google.
The photo shoot didn’t take to long. Al had the idea of using me to grab the plant, dirt and all, and have the dirt falling in between my fingers. He draped the my torso with a black blanket and silhouetted my hands. All and all I learned a lot on that day. Al used different lighting techniques and photography equipment I’d never used before. Once the shoot was finished my take home project was to photoshop the background, masking, from the images Al gave the “ok” to .
Work has definitely picked up since my last post. We are preparing for the spring and summer lines so the organization of shoots must be started now. Models are being booked and locations are being scouted. I think my favorite part of the job right now is the scouting. I get to walk around the city which I normally would not do on my own and look for unique locations for both full body shots and tight close ups. I like to sketch out where exactly I’d like the model to stand or be in the shot. I also visualize how the area would look when it’s not covered in snow. Other then the walking around I have some time to think about how I can further the business of the shop through advertising. I take all the aspects into consideration especially the shops demographic. I have to put myself into their minds and try and get a feel for what would catch their attention.
Overall I’m extremely excited for the upcoming months. I know we are going to have a busy season.
This week we had a special event. Adidas Combat Team had three UFC fighters do a signing at the shop which I shot; it was very cool experience. I had the opportunity to network with several already established designers and photographers from Adidas that do exactly what I would like to do. We exchanged business cards and I will be shadowing them in future events. The key to networking is humbling yourself and let yourself be taught by people who have already been there. It feels really good to be recognized as the shops photographer and be respected for it but there is so much I can learn from these veterans that are willing to help young and hungry upcoming designers like us.
In a way they know we will be replacing them in a distant future but with the right attitude on both parts their style and techniques can live through us.
February 11th I walk in to the studio with a new found excitement, I approach the door with the idea that this is a job, not just an internship. I know that opportunity can arise from this experience. I walk in and the receptionist greets me, and asks me to wait. She calls to the back and tells Mr. Vargas that I’m waiting for him in the front. Its completely normal to do that I mean it is my first official day at the studio. I start thinking, maybe they can see me as a regular and I can just greet everyone and stroll right in and get to designing. She asks me if I know where his office is, I reply, “yes I do”. Walking to the back I see breakfast for the staff on the table and fresh brewed coffee. Not just any coffee, Bustello Coffee. The coffee i grew up on, I’m sold, this is the place for me. Walking into Mr. Vargas’s office he’s already working on an invitation for an event. He has one simple job for me, to vectorized the most important letter in the logo. I say, “no problem, it’ll get done”. He walks me over to an empty table, I see designers all around it, and the only thought that crossed my mind was ,” HA I have my own table, It can someday be my own!”. Two hours later it was vectorized and saved in a u.s.b. titled, “Intern2015”, it would of been done faster but my computer crashed and every designer knows how that goes, especially if you didn’t save the work. After its done, he stares at it and says,” it’s still missing something”. I agree, it isn’t executed yet but it is on its way. He hands me two books labeled un-coated and coated, my next project is looking for the pantones that match the identity colors the closest. The process took thirty minutes. I have to be completely honest looking for pantones is not the easiest thing in the world but it is therapeutic. To my knowledge Mr. Vargas was pleased with he choices I picked out. I explained why they were the closest ones to the actual corporate colors. He ended up giving me an invitation with all that the invitation entails, information wise, and said, ”redesign this for me”, not finished off course but sketched out and conceptualized to a tight degree, where he can clearly understand my thought process. It’s 1:30 at this point and its time to head over to my internship class. I ask if i can come back after class, but obviously I can’t they close at 5pm. I then say can I come tomorrow, a holiday, Mr. Vargas laughs and says,” you trying to make me work on my day off”. I leave my desk feeling accomplished and with goals that I have to meet to make sure my supervisor is pleased with the work I’ve created.
Literally the next day I took initiative and called every person on that list, I realized very soon that this would not really work. So I created personalized e-mails for them all. Here’s an Example:
It’s a pleasure to write this, as this is my first internship opportunity, Enclosed is my resume, I hope my work ethics and ambition can radiate from the work I’ve produced and the places I’ve been employed at. We spoke this morning and I hope the excitement resonated through my voice. I hope we can work together in the future and in any instance I wish you success in all your future endeavors.
To my satisfaction my first choice called me back right away and I was scheduling an interview for the City Tech in House design studio.
Of course as things are going great at this point I have my scheduled interview for 10am I get hit with food poisoning and have to miss my interview with Mr. Vargas. I’m completely scared at this point because I’m thinking, “ if i don’t get an internship how in god’s name can I take internship class”. I took initiative and spent the whole morning calling Mr. Vargas back, he didn’t answer. This is when I emailed every other company in the list. Three of them ended reaching back to me, to schedule interviews, plus a representative from Ogilvy and Mather but fortunately by the time they had reached me Mr. Vargas was finally available and answered the office phone. He understood what happen and rescheduled the interview for the following day at the same time.
The following day I head over to meet Al Vargas and the interview is pretty standard, He’s extremely polite but there’s a sternness and passion to him. He concludes the interview with “do you have any questions for me” I say ,” when do I start”. Al looks down for what seemed, to me, like ten years. He looks back up and says can you start today at 2pm. Absolutely, I say !
We ended up meeting at one two places, the first stop was DBGB, Daniel Boulud’s, where C.U.N.Y. was writing a paper on an apprenticeship program for the culinary department. I’ll let you read up on that, but my role as an intern was to assist Mr. Vargas with lighting, serve as a model for certain shots, for referencing. All and all Mr. Vargas provides a very comfortable atmosphere for creativity, speaking your mind and ideas feels very comfortable and natural. It was a very pleasant first day and an exciting one, I took my first step into the field of design and it feels right.
The first day concluded with a brief introduction of the class and all that it entails. We introduced ourselves to the class, explaining our module and whether or not we have an internship, I did not! The prof. hands out a couple of sheets of paper plus the syllabus. He explains that this is not a regular class. The students meet every other week but that we are required to write our experiences down on a journal, even on the weeks that we do not meet. He didn’t need to explain the reason, why would he, it made absolute sense. You can only imagine my gratification and excitement having made it this far in my journey. As Prof. Mason’s, my instructor, speaking I just find myself getting more and more excited. He hands out one more sheet of paper, the internship list. Things are finally starting to come together for me, I’ve always understood the value of an internship, but now the opportunity is right in front of me. I take full advantage of this list and start circling the places I would want to work with, either by location or services. At this point I’m starting to have selective hearing, the prof. voice is starting to fade and all I hear is opportunity. A couple of minutes pass, might of been more but, i walk out the class and make a call to two of the places on the sheet of paper. One number was unavailable, I already had a plan B, for that said company. And the second my current internship. Their employees were gone for the day. I walk back into class unsatisfied, but I am fully aware that I’ll get one of the two. I enter back into class and finish the rest of my class session.
As we walk out I notice that one of my colleagues had interned with one of the places I called. I walk down to the sixth floor where he was working and asked nonchalantly. He said that he loved the place and to use him as a reference, I did just that.
The following day I email one of my choices, not the voice where my colleague worked, but the internship opportunity where the employees were gone for the day. I’ll just say it because it isn’t a secret. City Tech Design House. Al Vargas called me like a couple hours later, and we scheduled a interview for the following Wednesday at 10am.
Last week Thursday I continued to work on my non-profit organization mobile app for Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. As I was setting up my tabs, mapping out which information from the site will go under which tab, my supervisor Mr. Lawson came over to my computer and looked over the site again to make sure it was suitable for a mobile app. After looking through the site Mr. Lawson concluded that I shouldn’t use this site, and then we sat down and searched for a new non-profit organization that I can create this mobile app for.
After a few minutes we found a great non-profit organization site called Stomp Out Bullying, which is a site that talks about bullying, the reason why kids bully other kids, and how to get help, and how to report it to teachers and parents. This site had the works on bullying right down to the different types and kinds of bullying. This really stuck out for Mr. Lawson and I and he gave me the “Go” to start working on the mobile app.
Thursday I started the research on this site, read their mission statement, and history. I clicked on every tab and within every tab are links to information to get help to stop bullies from bullying, and the break down on different types of bullying, example gay bullying. Now that all the content are in the specific tabs that I havr created, all I have to do now is add their images and logo from their website to the mobile app and published it in the android market and iTunes.
Today is Feb. 16th and I just came from my first meeting with one of the managers of the shop I’ll be interning at. He was extremely nice and explained to me what I’d be doing for them. I will be in charge of the advertising for them, basically on their social media as well as coming up with concepts and design ideas for their shirts ( they have clothing as well ). He walked me through the store and showed me everything they had, I was really excited to be there. After we spoke some more about what I did and was able to do for them, we agreed on the days that worked for me, that didn’t interrupt school or work for me. By the end of our meeting I stayed in the shop for a little while, walking around and looking at the things they had. I went to the back and started brain storming and sketching new ideas for their logo, whatever came to mind I tried to put on paper and I had fun doing it. My next day working there will be sunday (feb 22) and I am looking forward in learning more about the place and coming up with brand new ideas. By the way, it’s called TREAD Bike Shop and they have amazing stuff in case any of you guys are into bicycling!
Today (Feb. 11th) has been an interesting day, it’s like all the opportunities decided to all just come together at the same time. I was looking at my email during class today (sorry professor), and I noticed I got 2 emails from 2 of the places I emailed asking to see more of my work. I was excited to hear from them and my plan was to email them back after class. When the class was almost over, a classmate came up to me and mentioned how they need help at her work place with product shooting and a couple of other stuff. She mentioned it was a bike shop and I asked for the location and surprisingly enough is in my neighborhood so I was more than happy to accept the opportunity and see what it is all about. I am opened to anything as long as it encourages me to do my best and teaches me along the way. I feel lucky right now, I was feeling very stressed out before thinking no one was going to give me a chance or that I was going to end up not taking the internship class this semester, but I am glad things have turned the way they have. Now I’m ready to go through this new experience.