My Perception of Time


I’ve been frustrated lately because I feel like I have no perception of time as it relates to progress with I have a timeline in my head of what we’ve accomplished since the very first thought of Art Prof popped into my head back in the fall or 2014, yet I still feel like I have no way of really measuring our progress.

Sure, I can look at the numbers for the past 1.5 years that our main site has been live. Last month we had over 10k visitors to, our highest yet, and the other day we hit 11k subscribers on our YouTube channel.  I really shouldn’t do this, but then I look at the numbers for other channels and sites that are doing somewhat similar things and I can’t even conceive of ever reaching 100k subscribers. I can’t help but ask myself, is it simply a matter of time before the project feels like it has truly “landed,” or am I doing something wrong?  I guess it’s fruitless to ask myself questions like this, but that doesn’t stop me from having those thoughts.

Seeing as we are very much making up as we go along, I really can’t tell if given the timeline of the project, whether we are doing exceptionally well or if we really should be a lot further along.  Granted, I do think it’s unfair for me to have expectations to have concrete answers to questions that are impossible to answer,  but it still bothers me that I don’t have a way to measure where we “should” be.


I guess when I compare this project to the timeline of progress I watch my students go through over the course of a single semester at RISD, it’s startling how predictable my classes are compared to Art Prof.

I’ve taught enough classes that I have approximations of where I think my students should be at midterm, and expectations where I want them to be at the end of the semester.  I can tell when a student is really lagging far behind, and when they are doing exceptionally well at any given point in the semester.

I think this all started when a comment on our YouTube channel this past week showed up that said “Your content is such good quality, I don’t understand how it’s not more popular.”  It’s a really nice compliment for them to say that, but I haven’t been able to get this out of my mind.  Being the eternal pessimist the nagging question in my head this week is “what am I doing wrong?” is a free website for learning visual arts which features video tutorials, art critiques, and more.

6 thoughts on “My Perception of Time

  1. Clara, have you ever heard of that teaches that Pinterest is the way to go to promote pretty much anything. It’s because of all the sharing and re-sharing. You can imbed a link in a graphic you create to advertise something so that when people click on it, it takes them to your website. I think that’s the way it works. There’s an online course to learn about this and a FB group for accessing help from the creators. They are legit.

  2. Hi Clara,

    I would have loved having something like your website decades ago as a high school student in a tiny town in southwest Virginia! My guess is there are many high school students now who would get a lot out of the site. Have you considered presenting at an NAEA conference to make secondary school art teachers aware of your site?

    1. Hi Susanne, thanks for your thoughts and support! I did present at the NAEA conference last year in Seattle, it was a great experience! I submitted to 2019 NAEA but my proposals didn’t get accepted. Next time!

  3. ArtProf definitely deserves more attention. This is only my opinion, but I feel the difference between ArtProf and other wider-known art channels is that, ArtProf is not taking enough advantage of advertisements and social media in general.

    Many of the channels with 100k+ subscribers do collabs with other prospering artists or websites to receive more exposure; some use Instagram for example to publish ads that target art students. On top of that, I personally think that ArtProf videos are not always ‘on trend’. This is purely my preference as an art student, but it would be more engaging if the videos flow with the ‘trends’ in the art community, or even with social/political issues around the globe. Nonetheless this is just a bonus to the top-quality foundation tutorials already on ArtProf, and usefulness should always be the priority.

    Another thing I suggest ArtProf to do is to hold workshops and lectures as an organization in schools or community places. Or more efficiently, set up booths during the National Portfolio Days and give short, specific critiques. This will serve as a more targeted effort to bring ArtProf to students who surely will need your team on their way to art-school, and for ArtProf to receive the deserved recognition.

    To summarize my suggestions to, try to reach out to those that may need the help, instead of waiting for them to come. Since your contents are top-notch, I wish they can be spread further. I’m sorry if my advices seem impractical or immature, but as a highschool senior going into art and design, I wish my opinions could become useful to your website. Thank you prof Lieu for bringing ArtProf to us!

    1. Hi Amy, thanks so much for taking the time to offer such thoughtful feedback, we greatly appreciate it! Always helpful to get another person’s perspective, I’m so immersed in Art Prof that a pair of fresh eyes is always great to have.

      We’ve held both lectures, workshops, portfolio critiques, etc. all over Massachusetts, in Vancouver, and in 4 cities in China. We love these events and have a busy schedule lined up!

      I inquired about National Portfolio Day and they do not allow any other companies to participate in National Portfolio Day events, so that’s not an option.

      Yes, we have not done much advertising but that’s largely because it’s really expensive (at least for our budget) and also it’s not possible to target art students. You can check off options like age, gender, and location, but there’s no box for “art students.” (too bad for us!)

      I’m not sure what you specifically pointing to about videos being “on trend,” but I can tell you from a philosophical point of view I don’t believe in conforming to trends. Because trends only last so long, and I think trying to fit your content into any given trend always compromises the quality of the content. At the end of the day, I want to say that I can stand by our content as our own, coming from our own passions, and that none of it was based on what we thought would be trendy.

      A lot of our limitations with reach have to do with our incredibly tiny budget and lack of personnel time; there are so many things that would change for us if we had the budget to do all of this! Trust me, in no way do I think we should produce content and wait for people to show up, that’s unrealistic and doesn’t work for anyone. (personally, I’ve ever believed in that ‘if you build it, they will come,” line) If there is anything I’ve learned through Art Prof, it’s that making quality content and plopping it right into someone’s lap is still not enough in most cases. And you can’t plop content down, one person at a time.

      Thanks again for your thoughts, we’ll keep working and we so appreciate your support and enthusiasm!

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