The Art Technician: Episode 1. Adam Harding has just started a job as an art technician. It's his dream job, but he's worried that it's about to turn into a nightmare...

Episode 1

The Art Technician: Episode 1

I’m Adam. Adam Harding. I’m the new art technician.

Being an art technician should be the best job in the world. I’m starting to realise that it isn’t always. Nope.

Part 1

It’s this realisation that feels crushing at times – if I didn’t have any expectations for the job, then I couldn’t feel let down.

Still, there are brilliant things that keep me hanging in there. I’ve moved up; now I don’t work in the ready meals factory with the guy who looks like Mr Potato Head. His moustache hung over his beard net like a fat hairy arm hanging over a hammock and almost put me off 5-minute curries for life. It might have done if I wasn’t so lazy.

Now I have a job that at least looks as if there was a point in doing an art degree and doesn’t make me feel like a prat.

Anyway, if I can’t make the most of the good things about being an art technician, I might as well apply for an admin job somewhere.

 

What do I do all day?

My nephew asked me why I had to wear steel toe caps to work when all I did was “colouring in”. I think I’d prefer to do a bit of colouring in sometimes instead of some of the grottier jobs like cleaning sinks. In fact, I spent half an hour today hiding in the store cupboard pretending to count the marker pens in case someone came in and caught me.

 

What’s a normal day like? Here’s the truth: there are no “normal” days. I’ve been here for a week now, and every day is different; some are manic, some are slower, some are dreadful and some are great fun. This is part of what keeps me hooked. The problem is that I don’t entirely know what I’m supposed to be doing yet and I don’t know where everything is, apart from the marker pens. I know all about them.

I read the job specification up and down, and figured out what I had to do in my job role, and how much time I’d have to do it in over the week. I’m not sure where my original list went, but I think I had most of these:

 

  • Health & Safety paperwork (risk assessments, competency sheets, COSHH)
  • Health & Safety checks & compliance
  • Maintenance & cleaning
  • Stocktaking & ordering
  • Constructing students’ artwork
  • Participating in/facilitating students’ artwork
  • Preparing materials
  • Fetching & finding
  • Admin & emailing
  • Installing artwork
  • College setups

 

When I worked it all out and divided up the amount of time I had available with the five or six rooms I’m responsible for, it wasn’t encouraging. Add to that the distinct feeling that from the outside, the job only looks like a bit of colouring in.

 

On the first day, none of these tasks came up; on the next two, they come all at once. Then on the fourth day everyone wanted to have the same materials prepped immediately for five different classes, as well as to have a huge canvas built and stretched, and a giant structure created, and something bought at the store over the road in my lunch break.

On the fifth day I had my induction and spent six hours learning how to work the printers and the phones. I forgot as soon as I left the room.

 

I’m sure they’ll try to fire me for writing this.

Just don’t tell them about it, ok?

 

I know it seems strange to risk my job for a blog, but the truth is, something isn’t right in this college. There’s something fishy about it, and I don’t mean the photography lecturer’s disgusting lunches. The last art technician left in a hurry, and it’s hard to find out anything about him. I’ve heard some strange stories from different people, but it’s like they’re describing two different men.

Besides that, I’ve been finding some strange… I guess you would call them strange… notes tucked away behind the art supplies. I don’t know what they mean or who they were for, but I think that the last art tech wrote them before he disappeared.

 

I might be paranoid, but I think I’d better start a blog so that if I disappear, someone might know what happened to me. I told my sister about it but she said I was just doing that thing I always do, coming up with a reason to run out on a perfectly good job. That’s totally unfair – it wasn’t my fault that the conveyor belt in the ready meals factory made me seasick. I couldn’t focus on the foil containers fast enough to get the paper lids on. It was definitely not my fault.

 

Although regular money is a good thing, I can’t do this job another week without some way to vent. Maybe writing this will be the way to love my job and come out of the cupboard. Maybe it’ll be the way to get myself kicked out of it and back to Mr Potato Head. Either way, things will change.

My week at work:

30% sawing

30% negotiation

20% moving stuff

10% cleaning sinks

5% ordering more markers

5% hiding

 


Read episode 1 of The Art Technician. Adam's first week at work hasn't been everything he's expected. He has no idea what's coming next...

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