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How to Become a Painting Apprentice
Whether you are interested in painting houses or painting the next "Mona Lisa," an apprenticeship will provide you with the skills, knowledge and experience you need to establish your own career as a painter. Working as an apprentice to an established or recognized painter is a valuable way to gain first-hand experience in the field and learn essential techniques of the trade. Becoming a painting apprentice is moderate in difficulty and will require time, research and a portfolio of your work.
Decide what kind of painter you want to be, in order to find an apprenticeship within your field of interest. Fine art, interior/exterior house painting, spray painting and sign painting are a few examples of areas you could choose to specialize in and find a working artist to apprentice under.
Compile a portfolio of any work you have done with paint. Even unrelated painting projects can be included, to show that you have diverse knowledge of the art form. For example, if you want to be an interior painting apprentice, but have a sample of a fine art painting you have created, include it. If you have a background in painting, such as attending art school, include samples of work you completed during that time. Your portfolio should have only one sample per page, and should include enough samples for an experienced painter to visually gauge your experience and talent.
Research painters or painting companies in your area that work in the field you want to specialize in. For example, if you want an apprenticeship in fine art painting, search for working artists that live or work near you. The Internet is the easiest way to find this information, though phone books can be another excellent resource, especially when searching for painting companies to apprentice through. Compile a list of painters or companies you are interested in.
Contact each painter or painting company on your list by phone or through email. Tell them you are interested in working as an apprentice, and explain why you are interested. Highlight any experience you have when communicating with them, and present yourself professionally. You may face rejection from several before finding one that is interested. Once you have gained the interest of a painter or company, arrange a face-to-face interview or meeting with them in order to further discuss potentially working together.
Show up to your meeting on time and dressed professionally. Bring your portfolio and resume with you. During the meeting, ask as many questions as you need to, so that you know exactly what to expect from the apprenticeship. An apprenticeship should provide you with not only knowledge of technique, but also with knowledge of how to start your own business, or how to be successful as a working artist yourself. Discuss what hours you would be working, and whether or not the apprenticeship will be paid. Some painters or companies may be willing to compensate you financially throughout your apprenticeship, but some may expect you to pay them. Work out all of these details, and familiarize yourself with what is expected before committing to apprentice under anyone.
Work on the assigned hours and days agreed upon with the painter or company you are apprenticing through. Pay attention to how they work and learn as much as you can. Ask questions as needed, to make sure you fully understand the techniques they are using. As you progress through your apprenticeship, the work will become harder.
Research independently outside of work to stay up to date on techniques and tools of the trade. Subscribe to magazines, or read websites relevant to the area of painting you are apprenticing in.