About claralieu

I am a professor, writer, and visual artist. I write an advice column for visual artists called "Ask the Art Professor" which is featured in the Huffington Post. I currently teach in the Illustration Department at the Rhode Island School of Design. My studio practice explores isolation and mental illness through drawing, printmaking, and sculpture.

Harsh Realities at Art Prof

The heart of Art Prof’s mission is to make our visual arts education content free and available to everyone.  Now, 3 years into this project, there are some harsh financial realities that we have to face.

Our Kickstarter funds were the launching pad that enabled us to actually create Artprof.org and turn our abstract ideas into a tangible, fully functional platform. We purchased tons of video/sound equipment, paid our Teaching Assistants for one year, hired our web developer, amongst other costs.

Some people might think that the $30k we raised would make us flush with cash, but that simply was not the case.  Despite the Kickstarter funding, Thomas Lerra, myself, and Alex Hart still had to keep working on a volunteer basis.  Even then, we knew that we had to keep scraping the bottom of the barrel, cut corners on almost every expense, and squeeze every last cent. I’m quite frankly amazed that we were able to make $30k last for this long.

On top of launching our site/producing content/marketing over the past year, we have been constantly pursuing all other means of raising funds:  we have been courting several sponsors non-stop for the past year, we’ve researched all kinds of grants, and looked for private donors. Basically, we have tried everything that was within our means, given everything else that was going on.

While we will continue to keep chipping away at these initiatives, we can no longer wait around. Art Prof needs a financial solution now. We are at a fork in the road: our funding is gone, and we have to figure out how to stay alive.

Either we get enough donations to stay alive, or we will have to set up a paywall. 

I really, really, don’t want to have a paywall on Art Prof.  Yet we can’t pay for Art Prof out of our own pockets long term. (we have already done plenty of that) The scope of Art Prof is far too big for that to even be a possibility.

While a paywall would certainly be the easier solution, I always go back to thinking about the teen from Nigeria, who wrote to me 2 years ago. She told me that there was no art program at her school, but that when she found my blog, she saw “a glimmer of hope.” I remember the retired adult who wrote to me and said that because of his disability and lack of finances, he will never be able to pay for an art class. Art Prof was the art class that would always be open for him. Help us keep our classroom door open to these people.

Please donate, every amount counts!

DONATE

Leyla-Clara


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

New Tutorial Set: “Small Sparks”

Clara-Alex-Casey

Last weekend Art Prof TAs Lauryn Welch, Alex Rowe, Deepti Menon, and Casey Roonan came to my house for a 5 days of shooting. Our retreats are really intense, require serious concentration 24-7, are exhausting, but they are also a total blast.  All of us live in different places, so we really only get together a few times a year to shoot our video content. What’s been really exciting is that with every retreat, we’ve become noticeably more efficient with our time, and our work flow is much faster than before. It’s wonderful to see our team settling into a stable familiarity in the process that wasn’t there when we first got started.

Lauryn-Alex

It’s still incredible to me how much we managed to pack into 5 days.  Deepti shot a tutorial about how to create an animation piece using an eggplant, Alex did a tutorial on ink wash drawing which involved American colonial history and an on site visit to a farm to hang out with sheep, Lauryn showed us how to mix coffee grounds into acrylic paint to make a painting inspired by BBQ squid, and Casey showed us all kinds of ink technique that involved roadkill and toilet paper.

Lauryn

While we still want to include the basics on Artprof.org, we’re really excited about these quirkier tutorials that are a new hybrid of artist documentary and tutorial.  In our research, the video content out there is either exclusively a documentary (such as the PBS series art21) or a purely technical tutorial.  The idea of combining both documentary and tutorial in one is really exciting, as you’ll get the change to understand the initial inspiration for our work, but also have the opportunity to see every step of the process explained, using ordinary materials that are accessible and can be done in your own home.

We see Art Prof as a platform that is constantly growing, even since our site launch this past February so much of our mindset has changed. Ideas for new content formats keep coming up, which is exciting, but also frustrating at the same time.  With our extremely limited post-production staff (me, and Alex Hart occasionally) we just don’t have the man power to produce video content as quickly as we want to. We desperately need a sound designer, but without sustained funding that isn’t an option for us right now. (please consider a monthly donation to our Patreon!)

Clara

Now that Art Prof has been around for 3 years, we felt it was a good time to create a short “Making of Art Prof” documentary for people to see what happens behind the scenes.  Even thought our content is of professional quality, I’m not sure people realize how DIY Art Prof really is!  We shoot in a room right next to my kitchen, we scrape together whatever art supplies we own, we cook meals together, and make do with situations that are less than convenient. (I’m too cheap to buy comforters for everyone, so all the TAs have to bring their own comforter when they stay here)

Naturally, our retreat wouldn’t be half as fun without our guinea pigs, Bubba and Fluffy, who are now the official Art Prof mascots!

Deepti

ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

We Need Your Feedback!


Now that Artprof.org has been live for about 3 months, we want to hear from YOU!  Tell us what you like, what could be improved, and what kind of content you want to see in the future.  Your feedback and thoughts are tremendously important to keep us moving forward.

FILL OUT SURVEY


Since our site launch in February 2017, we’ve already made several fundamental improvements to Artprof.org:  our site now loads much more quickly because we compressed files, glitches on the mobile version have been fixed, and we are adding new content every week. (see our homepage for new releases!) In the coming weeks, we are working with our web developer to make Artprof.org AMP compliant. (Accelerated Mobile Pages) so that the mobile version will be significantly increased and load times will be super quick!

Stay tuned!  The first half of my Self-Portrait from Life tutorial is now available, with the second half and Casey Roonan’s charcoal version coming soon!


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

A New Type of Tutorial: “Course Trios”


One aspect of Art Prof that we are trying to push is diversity of artistic approaches and media.  When I was a student in art school, I remember feeling like my head was exploding with excitement when I arrived on campus and was discovering so many new art materials. I found it to be an incredibly enriching experience to approach the same subject with different media.  I did portraits in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture techniques throughout my four years in art school. Every media I experienced revealed something new about the human face that could only be experienced with that specific media.

IMG_9599_self-portrait_Casey_on-set

That’s why I’m thrilled that we’re bringing that diversity of materials to Art Prof with our Course Trios, beginning with our Self-Portrait from Life course.

The idea is different than the linear tutorials I’ve seen online:  My tutorial provides the fundamentals  & premise of the subject.  In the case of the Self-Portrait course,  how to set up a mirror, light your face, basics in the structure of the skull, and thumbnail sketches.  From there, the course branches out into 3 different paths:  1) a self-portrait in crayon by myself, 2) a self-portrait in charcoal by TA Casey Roonan, and 4) a self-portrait in animation by TA Deepti Menon.


Watching Casey do his charcoal drawing tutorial from behind the camera, I found myself seeing the concept of the self-portrait with new eyes. In the video above, Casey talks about how as a cartoonist, he has a cartoon version of himself in his head that he can draw “thoughtlessly.”  He talks about how cartoonists are often accused of just drawing themselves, citing Jack Kirby’s  Incredible Hulk as essentially a self-portrait of Kirby himself. As a fine artist, all of this was totally new to me, and I found it endlessly absorbing to listen to.

I told Casey afterwards that my “basics” tutorial on drawing a self-portrait from life felt so generic compared to his!  However, we agreed as a staff that having one tutorial provide the core basics was critical to the other two tutorials making sense.  Hope all of you have as much fun learning these diverse approaches as I do!  If you want to receive email notifications when a new course is released, you can sign up here.

IMG_9593_self-portrait_Casey_on-set


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

Patience, Patience, Patience

Clara_Self-Portrait_001

Self-Portrait from Life,  video course


Yesterday I was speaking to my Art Prof partner Thomas Lerra, about the pacing of the project and whether I was doing everything that I “should” be doing at this point. Tom has been so important to Art Prof because he has several decades of experience in digital production and strategy that I simply don’t have. I’ve taught my studio courses at RISD so many times, that I have confidence in my ability to evaluate where my students should be at midterm, and what I expect to see by the end of the semester.  With Art Prof, I have no clue about what type of timeline I’m supposed to be on.  Most of the time, I feel like I am just making things up as I go along, which is really exhilarating, but also tough as well!

For me, comparisons to athletics always work well when I think about my projects, specifically, marathons. The three years we spent developing Art Prof was the training period before you run the actual marathon.  Launching Artprof.org was us starting the actual marathon itself.

QArt-Getting-a-Critique

Q&Art video:  Getting a Critique


Now comes the tough part:  you just have to keep going for a while, and to a certain degree, it’s simply a matter of time.  I think in some ways this can be the most challenging part of the process.  At the beginning of the marathon, there’s the initial thrill of getting started which is really exciting.  Then that adrenaline rush dies down and you realize how much further you have to go.

I’m a pretty impatient person by nature, so Art Prof is definitely testing my patience to a degree that I never thought was possible.  Generally speaking, I can stay focused on the crazy multitude of tasks I have to do every day to maintain video production and keep Artprof.org maintained.  However lately, I’ve had some brief moments of sinking doubt that I really need to break out of. Coming up with ideas and producing content for Art Prof is the easy part. The most difficult part is keeping your faith in the project.

Tom said to me yesterday that at some point, a “bike” might appear that we can ride on for the marathon. But until then, I have to keep running.

ArtProf_007

Art Supply Encyclopedia


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

Art School Portfolios: Advice & Stories

art-school-portfolio_Catherine-Huang

Watch: Art School Portfolio advice from Catherine Huang


Art Prof has been keeping me busy.  Really busy.  What’s challenging is trying to keep all aspects of production going at the same time:  shooting footage, editing footage, and maintaining Artprof.org.  Even though I have hours and hours of footage that has yet to be edited, I am still scheduling shoots regularly to continue creating new content. I always feel behind, but slowly I am creating a system for everything that is starting to become much more concrete and predictable than before.  That’s actually what is so time-consuming; when you produce something for the first time and there is no system in place that you can rely on!

art-school-portfolio_Annelise-Yee

Watch: Art School Portfolio advice from Annelise Yee


One upcoming video course that I am particularly excited about is about Art School Portfolios.  Hands down the top blog post here on my blog is an article that provides advice for what to include in an art school portfolio.  This video course will exponentially expand on the content in that post, and provide new content, such as the video testimonials from art school students on their experience preparing a portfolio.

The testimonials have been so much fun to shoot.  For some students speaking about their portfolio felt like a distant memory, while for others, it was very recently that they completed their portfolio. Every student has their own unique story, but pretty much across the board, it’s incredible how much frustration and lack of resources almost every student had preparing their portfolio.

art-school-portfolio_Julie-Benbassat

Watch: Art School Portfolio advice from Julie Benbassat


The idea behind this art school portfolios course is to provide concrete advice and resources for students combined with personal stories and experiences. If you are preparing an art school portfolio, you don’t have to do it by yourself anymore!  I know that when I prepared my portfolio 23 years ago, I did everything entirely by myself.  It was a really isolating, miserable experience that I am hoping this course can spare some students from.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

The Visual Artists Who Live “Among Us”

Lucy Saltonstall, our first Emerging Artist featured on Artprof.org


The first time I ever met a real, practicing visual artist was when I went to RISD as an undergraduate student.  It may sound odd to say this, but when I was in high school I didn’t really think about visual artists as people who were alive in my time period. To me, visual artists were people you read about in a textbook, or whose names were on the walls in an art museum.  It never occurred to me that visual artists were actual people I could interact with in my life.

Reflecting upon that now seems so ridiculous, since as a professional artist and teacher, almost everyone I interact with on a regular basis is a practicing artist.  In terms of making visual arts accessible to the average person, that’s really frustrating and I have to imagine that many people have a similar perception that I had as a high school student.


When I meet people and tell them that I’m an artist, they frequently tell me that they “don’t get art” or that they don’t understand what the deal is with contemporary art. For me part of the problem is that to the general public, an artist is someone like Jeff Koons who built a gigantic steel sculpture that looks like play dough that cost well over a million dollars, and who had a retrospective at the Whitney Museum. The vast majority of working artists will never have their artwork shown at a national museum like the Met.

What has really been surprising (and fun) about Art Prof is how many artists I have met, people who you never thought were artists have this whole other side of them.  I met someone at one of our portfolio review events who told me that he worked construction and landscaping jobs during the day and then went home at night to paint.

I find it ironic that as a high school student, I never really met a working artist, and yet now I am discovering that artists are in fact, everywhere.

That’s why we are building a new section of Art Prof, where we will showcase artists of all ages, middle school students, college students, working adults, lifelong learners, everyone. I have many aspirations of Art Prof, and one of the biggest ones I have is to change the public’s perception of who artists are.  We don’t have create elaborate and costly installations like Christo or Yayoi Kusama to be artists.  There are many ways to be an artist, and on Art Prof, I want to show the artists who live among us.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.