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.

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.

Art Prof LIVES!!!!

w

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.


Interns

Anna   Makoto   Annelise   Enrico   Julia
crit_Vuthy   Tatiana Florival, Intern   Olivia Hunter, Intern   Jordan McCracken-Foster, Intern   Janice
Julia Orenstein • Vuthy LayTatiana Florival
Anna Campbell• Makoto Kumasaka• Annelise Yee• Enrico Giori

Olivia HunterJordan 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.


Teaching Assistants

square_Sara   square_Casey   square_Anniesquare_Lauryn   square_yves   square_Alex
Sara BloemCasey 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.

IMG_0509

Thomas Lerra

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.

IMG_6943

Alex Hart

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.

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.

Just $823 Away From our $30k Goal!

Clipboard01

ART PROF is 97% funded! All we need is $823 to hit our $30k goal!
Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing platform; if we don’t hit our goal, we get no funding.

Our campaign ends TOMORROW, July 19 at 11:59pm EST.

donate


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

FB   Youtube    tumblr    Pinterest    LinkedIn    Instagram    Twitter    snap_chat   email

 

Your Donation, Doubled!

For the 2nd time, our anonymous donor is offering to match all donations between today and July 18 for up to $2000! If you donate by July 18, your donation is doubled!!

Our campaign ends Tues., July 19.  We are $5300 from our goal. If we can get $3300 from you + our donor’s $2000, ART PROF is going to HAPPEN!!!!

donate

donor - Copy

A 2 Year Artistic Roller Coaster Ride

last_blast

In 2014, I had a fleeting thought for a project that seemed like complete pie in the sky. As an artist, ideas for projects float in and out of my brain.  Some ideas are stay for about 3 minutes, some linger and hang out for a week or so, and some permanently attach themselves, refusing to leave.

When you have those pie in the sky ideas, they’re fun to dream and fantasize about.  You think in your head “wow, that would be so awesome…” and “if only I could pull that off….” However, there’s the skeptical, practical side of my brain which reminds me of the brutal logistics of reality, and basically obliterates those pie in the sky dreams before they even get a chance to be even considered.

Well, this particular pie in the sky dream didn’t get obliterated, it survived-for a very, long time. And yes, it got me into a lot of artistic “trouble.”  I slowly started following a trail of tiny bread crumbs that started to appear in the forest.  Sometimes it was months of waiting between each bread crumb, and it was the greatest test of patience for someone who has very little patience to begin with.

Then, some wheels really started turning, and I realized that I was on a gigantic roller coaster ride that I wanted to stay on forever. Except that this roller coaster was in complete darkness, and it didn’t have all the tracks ahead finished yet. I was moving on the roller coaster, but frantically laying the tracks in front of me about 3 seconds before I went over them, all in the dark.

Sneak Peek

And then before I knew it, I realized that the roller coaster had grown so big that I couldn’t do it by myself anymore.  I needed a partner and a team:  a fantastic, superb group of art students, emerging artists, and numerous professionals who could help me build the tracks, shine some light on the roller coaster, and make pie in the sky real. This is the most extraordinary group of people I’ve ever worked with, and I cannot remotely come close to accurately expressing my tremendous gratitude towards their tenacity, perseverance, and faith in our project. Without my team, pie in the sky would still be an idea floating in my head, or it would be a mediocre effort that lasted for a few months and then drifted away.

This has been the most exhilarating, terrifying, stimulating, difficult, electrifying idea I have ever experienced in over 15 years as a professional artist and teacher. Every time I thought I had just finished climbing Mt. Everest, I was told “You have to climb Mt. Everest again.” I would finish my second climb, come back to the bottom and be told “Sorry, that wasn’t enough-you have to go again.”  Every time I thought I had reached a milestone, or pushed myself as far as I could, the challenges only grew increasingly larger and more difficult, and I had to rise to the task in a way that in a way that was unprecedented in my life time. On top of that, I had to keep this project top secret for TWO YEARS.  I’ve been jumping out of my skin, and can’t wait to release the hounds.


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 Burst of Artistic Inspiration for the First Time in 2 Years

Trustman Gallery at Simmons College

I’ve been absolutely consumed with my art education project that is being announced June 14, (subscribe to my email list if you want to know what it is!) so for the past 2 years, I haven’t produced a single piece of artwork.  In 2014, I had simultaneous solo exhibitions at the Trustman Gallery at Simmons College and the Mazmanian Gallery at Framingham State University of works from “Falling“, a series of drawings, prints, and sculpture I worked on from 2010-2014 that explored my personal experience with depression.  I was so stressed out from the year leading up to those exhibitions that consequently, I lost my drive to continue producing artwork.  I knew this was a serious plateau I had reached because I knew that no matter what project I did next, it would be absolutely nothing like my previous projects, (Wading, Waiting, and Digging) all of which followed relatively similar paths.

I’m absolutely floored by this complete halt of creating artwork, and that it’s lasted 2 years.  I was initially horrified that I had no motivation to make artwork-there’s nothing more terrifying than feeling the drive you’ve devoted your entire life to drain away from your mind and body. Then my art education project started to take off, and my passion directed itself elsewhere in a new and different form.  At that point, I stopped feeling guilty about not making artwork the way I had in the past, got really excited about the possibilities for my art education project.

But then,  just a few hours ago, an idea for a series of drawings slapped me in the face, really hard. I felt the first explosion of passion and inspiration that I haven’t felt in 2 years. Simply put, I want to create a series of nude drawings of the elderly. When I think about it, there are so few images of elderly nudes in history, the only two that are prominent are the “Old Market Woman” sculpture from Hellenistic Greece, and Rodin’s The Helmut Maker’s Wife.” There are also 3 major sources of inspiration I can point to for this project idea:

  1. Atul Gawande’s book “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Happens in the End”
  2. Roz Chast’s memoir “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”
  3. Pearl, an 85 year old artist model who worked at RISD when I was a student.

Gawande and Chast’s books were fundamentally about the same subject of aging, but were incredibly different in terms of both the articulation of the subject and their point of view, Gawande as a doctor, Chast as a cartoonist. I found both books absolutely riveting and remember reading Chast’s book back to back in one sitting.  In Chast’s book, there’s a section where she explains that in the moments immediately after her mother passed away, she says “I didn’t know what to do, so I drew her.”  Chast’s drawings of her mother were some of the most intimate, powerful drawings I’ve ever seen and I found myself emotionally moved by her drawings in a way that I rarely experience.

reclining_pearl

This drawing of the artist model Pearl reclining is one of my favorite drawings I did my senior year at RISD. I have no idea why she put a tissue over her eyes that day when she was posing in class, but it made for a striking set up that no longer looked like a drawing class exercise. Drawing Pearl was an extraordinary experience. Because she was 85 years old, the physical aspects of her body were like nothing I had ever seen before, the sagging and stretching of her tendons and muscles, the texture of her skin, and her awkward physical movements were completely mesmerizing. She would sit in a chair for literally 4 hours straight.  Every now and then, her head would drop down, as if she had fallen asleep, and then 20 minutes later, she would slowly bring her head back up in to the exact same position she had been posing in.

pearl

With my major project coming June 14, there’s no way this project is going to start even within a few months.  However, already, my mind is racing about all of the possibilities, and I like the idea of letting a project concept simmer slowly in my head over a long period of time before starting. I can imagine already there are going to be major logistical hurdles I will have to clear in terms of finding people who are willing to participate in a project like this, but that’s exactly why it’s good for this project idea to sit in my head for a few months before I take any action.

A sculpture of Pearl I sculpted based on my memory of her figure in 2002.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Our Kickstarter campaign hit its $30k goal on July 19!  Get info on our future launch by subscribing to our email list.

FB   Youtube    tumblr    Pinterest    LinkedIn    Instagram    Twitter    snap_chat   email