Chloë Epstein ’21: Illustrator, Book of Poems by Airea D. Matthews

Name: Chloë Epstein
Class Year: 2021
Major: Fine Arts
Hometown: Philadelphia

Internship Organization: Internship with Bryn Mawr Professor Airea D. Matthews
Job Title: Illustrator
Location: Philadelphia


What’s happening at your internship?

I am illustrating a book of poems being written by my creative writing professor. I am not involved with a company or organization, so this has been a very independent experience, but I still get to collaborate and interact with Professor Matthews. Currently, I am at the creative stage of my internship where I’m working on the actual illustrating. I have finished almost two illustrations, and am currently sketching the third. I have been sent three poems of course, and plan to ask for more material, if Professor Matthews has more. Continuing this process we will be going into the publishing stages, where she will show me what goes into creating a book like this and we will work together to put together the layout of the poems combined with the illustrations.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I had Airea D. Matthews as my professor for an Intro to Creative Writing class last semester. She was an incredible teacher, and I ended up showing her some of my artwork and telling her about my aspirations to become a comic book artist and writer during our first one-on-one meeting. Later on she told me about a new collection of poems that she was publishing, and she asked me if I could illustrate her work. I was a bit nervous at first, but I had decided this would be a great opportunity for me and that I was very lucky to have it when I was only still an undergrad. I have been taking more chances in college, more than I ever had when I was in high school, where I was much more closed off and less outgoing. Part of the reason was that I had fewer opportunities when it came to my own interests, and knew few teachers such as Professor Matthews. I just knew I needed to take a chance on this, specifically within the summer internship program where I would get to meet other people working on internships as well.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part is the fact that I get to actually create art as a job. Most of the internships I’ve been involved in are based in art, two of them being based a graphic design, but this the only one where I have actually been able to create the art I’m interested in. I learned and used many other skills in my other internships, but this has been one of the most fulfilling experiences and it feels like this is actually a path I want to take towards a career. I have been able to work on my skills in illustration, and challenge myself with subjects in drawing that I have more trouble with. However, this has been a very relaxing and fun experience for me because of my love for illustration. I already create work on my own, but when I was younger it was harder for me because I had almost no outlet or environment for art and I didn’t have a teacher to push me. I took PAFA art classes outside of school, but none of it felt as encouraging as this experience where I feel like I’m actually creating something for others to see.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

In the past, I have done little work when it comes to collaborating with others. Even when people would ask me to create something for them, I would hesitate to, because I wasn’t used to showing my art off in that context or working with others. As an artist, I think collaborating with other people is really important, because you get to see how other artists think and get to know the community more. I sometimes post artwork online or show it to my friends and family, but that has been my extent of my sharing, so creating work for my professor has been a really big step for me. With this collaboration in particular it was good for me to see what creating art is like on a professional level where it will actually published. Professor Matthews, who has already published her own work, will be showing me how publishing works for this projects and future ones as well. She has also taught me more about poetry and different forms of art as well, and had me do research and read book before I began illustrating. One of the most rewarding aspects of this collaboration though is that we have been learning from each other, and even though I look up to Professor Matthews a lot (she has even become my mentor) I feel very appreciated by her and like that we can actually have a conversation about our ideas together. I feel very grateful for this opportunity.