I had no idea when I wrote a blog post back in October 2014 about an idea that floated through my head for a few minutes that I would be here today. Our Kickstarter campaign was a real nail biter…. but we hit our goal this morning!!!
I am overwhelmed with the phenomenal support and enthusiasm that my partner Thomas Lerra and I, and our extraordinary staff of Teaching Assistants and Interns experienced over the past several weeks. We were all blown away by the amazing support we received from people from all different parts of our lives, it was truly incredible to see the way people came out to support us. I was surprised by the large number of people who I have never met in person before, or people who I barely knew, but who went out of their way to help us! Running a campaign like this was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, (this coming from someone who usually salivates at the idea of a challenge) but with the outcome we had, I have renewed faith in the universe. Knowing how intensely skeptical I generally am about everything, that says a lot.
It will take me many hours at my laptop to properly thank everyone who helped us, and that will all come over the next few weeks. For now, I have to express my immense gratitude to my exceptional staff, who are seriously my favorite group of people I have ever worked with.
Julia Orenstein • Vuthy Lay • Tatiana Florival
Anna Campbell• Makoto Kumasaka• Annelise Yee• Enrico Giori
Olivia Hunter • Jordan McCracken-Foster • Janice Chun
I would like to thank all of our Interns, who joined Art Prof this summer by basically diving into an ocean in the pitch dark, (metaphorically) who bailed me out when there were more than a few fires to put out, who pointed out every stupid mistake I made, (of which there were many) who inspired me with their innovative ideas, and who made me feel way older than I would like to feel by explaining to me how Snapchat worked.
Sara Bloem • Casey Roonan • Annie Irwin
Lauryn Welch • Yves-Olivier Mandereau • Alex Rowe
When I first contacted our Teaching Assistants over a year ago, I am sure that they had absolutely no idea what they were getting into when they said yes to my email-I didn’t either at the time. Thank goodness they were all crazy enough to jump on board, or Art Prof would not be what it is today. I had no idea what a tremendous role the TAs would play a year ago, but as Art Prof grew, I realized more and more how critical the TAs were to Art Prof. Example: I KNOW I am not the reason someone told me recently that Art Prof looks so “youthful.”
Beyond looks though, I am completely floored by the unwavering commitment of our TAs. Their enthusiasm, energy, and drive truly gave Art Prof the electrifying fuel we needed to take off. The TAs brought diverse voices and opinions to the table. We discussed everything from the most minute concern to the deepest fundamental premise of Art Prof. They were just as good at discussing what precise shade of yellow the top menu bar on the prototype should be, to talking about fundamental philosophical questions concerning Art Prof’s mission and goals. The TAs put up with my constant questioning, pushing, and yes, my occasional whining (okay, maybe it was more than occasional) with a smile and warmth. The balance of camaraderie, seriousness, motivation, sense of humor, and sarcasm (a requirement if you want to work with me) is one I believe will never exist anywhere else, at any other time.
I am still in utter disbelief that I ever found Thomas Lerra, my partner in crime. It took three degrees of separation and many months of searching and waiting in agony for me to find him, but boy, was it worth the wait. I like to joke that Tom and I were “dating” for several months before we made Art Prof official. In our early meetings that go all the way back to February 2015, I kept thinking after every meeting, that our meeting that day would be our last. But it never was, and so here we are today, jumping off the cliff every day with each other.
I hear many people talk big about taking risks, but so few actually take concrete actions to make things happen. Tom is one of the rare people I know who really does relish experimentation and risk, and I love the dynamic quality of our conversations, where we push and pull together at the task at hand. Having been micro-managed in the past by more than a few people at various jobs, I cannot express how immensely appreciative of I am of Tom’s trust in me as a teacher and professional. I know how lucky I am! If it weren’t for Tom, Art Prof would not exist.
Finally, there is one person who has logged more uncredited hours on Art Prof than probably anyone else in the history of video production. My husband, Alex Hart, who was always hidden behind the scenes, where his labor was seen by none. Alex saw the bloodiest side of Art Prof, that I never let anyone else see.
Alex was there at 3am when I was panicking because I couldn’t figure out how to do the sound mix in Premiere. He threw together a film shoot on 2 weeks notice to create my “audition” tape to show Tom. He sat patiently and watched me fall on my face left and right trying to learn Premiere. He fixed tiny glitches in the prototype. He scrounged up equipment, consulted on every piece of hardware and supply I needed for video shoots. He has been practically a single parent for the past 2 months; and altered his schedule on a moment’s notice on several occasions when video shoots ran far past when they should have. (there’s even a story of him forgetting that he didn’t have a car, and ended up strapping 2 kids’ bikes to his bike and then rode a mile like that to my kids’ school) He was there to calm me down when I had meltdowns, when I was convinced that Art Prof was going nowhere, and when I needed to vent for hours on end. Through all of that, Alex kept telling me that he believed in me.
All of this, which for most people would be grounds for divorce within 48 hours. And hardly a single complaint the whole time through. Thank you Alex, for believing in 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.
PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.
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.