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Home » News » FSU Art BA ‘16 Shawn Turk Interning with Walt Disney Imagineers

FSU Art BA ‘16 Shawn Turk Interning with Walt Disney Imagineers

Published June 18, 2015

In 2007 I graduated from the FSU College of Business with a major in Hospitality Administration, but I was completely unaware of my passion to create. After a few years of struggling with a less than fulfilling career path I decided to return to school. I began creating art as a hobby while I looked for my path forward and in 2011 I decided to return to school part time to pursue art as a career.

image41My goals are simple; work my way back through school and then begin to work towards a career with the Walt Disney Company as an Imagineer, so that I can help bring happiness and inspiration to people from all around the world. In the spring of 2014 FSU launched a program with Walt Disney Imagineering where students would learn how to sculpt and paint themed environments. Upon completing the courses I was offered an Internship with WDI to further my understanding of the processes and continue to build the necessary skills required to produce attractions for Disney parks around the world.

During my internship I am working with various departments such as Character Plaster, Character Paint, Production Art, Creative Art Direction, and Field Art Direction. Though I cannot expand upon my current project load due to a confidentiality agreement. I have been working on new attractions by creating models and reviewing renderings/reference photos. I am also working on the rehabilitation of existing attractions, which includes demolition, new sculpting, and painting. Finally, I am learning art direction by observing meetings and attraction walkthroughs.

My days vary as some days I work outside on cement sculptures and other days I attend meetings throughout the day. I am privy to attraction walkthroughs where a team of artists, architects, engineers, and administrators collectively make decisions regarding modifications. I also shadow current field art directors as they tour new construction zones and provide direction to the construction crews about how to maintain the design intent while ensuring structural integrity. I am learning that this career path is really a cross discipline path that requires understanding of art, management, and construction.

Working outside in the direct sunlight for up eight hours a day in central Florida is a very serious challenge that everyone here faces. It is very easy to overheat, get sunburned, and even get agitated as the hot days progress. By drinking plenty of water and eating healthy I am able to sustain the sometimes-harsh environmental factors. By staying positive and focused on my goals, I can navigate the unpredictable nature of a diverse and overheated workforce through empathy and understanding.

After completing this internship I plan to return to Tallahassee in order to finish my degree. I will spend as much free time as I can creating my own sculpture projects in order to continue to build my portfolio. Additionally, I will work to maintain contact with the network of Imagineers I am creating through this internship. During the spring semester I will apply to available opportunities with WDI. This internship has confirmed to me that WDI is where I want to be, and my goals of working for Disney and creating happiness are stronger than ever.

At WDI we believe happy people make the world a better place.