Exploding with Ideas

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Lately it seems like my hands just can’t keep up with my mind.  I have 20 years of content that is dying to come out of my head for Art Prof, I have years of work to create for Scars that Speak, and today I had another idea for series of drawings that I’ll work on until the day I die.

Sounds dramatic, but I really mean it!  I always joke with my college students about how old and uncool I am, but it’s true; in recent years the process has become noticeable in a way it never was before. The process begins with silly things like watching The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and realizing that I have no idea who the celebrities he interviews are, or when I mention Woody Allen to a student and they reply with “Who’s that?”

In terms of my mindset, I notice that I care less and less every day about what other people in of me.  I remember being so preoccupied with how other people would react to what I did, both in terms of things small and large.  Today, I really could care less.  That’s a great feeling, it’s really liberating and lets you do the things you’ve always wanted to do.

Many years ago when I was traveling in Japan, I was at a temple in a rural area.  At this temple, there was this GIGANTIC metal bell hanging in the middle of the temple.  The bell was just begging to be rung, but of course, there was a big scary sign next to it that said “DO NOT RING THE BELL.”  I walked a few feet away from the bell, and then I heard the bell ringing!  Right after, I heard some giggling next to the bell.  Standing there were two elderly women, who were taking tremendous delight in their “offense.” I hope I get to that point some day.

While the shift of mindset is terrific, the physical changes in your body can be alarming, the way they creep up on you incrementally, or when you just notice them all of the sudden. My stomach never went back to the way it was before I had kids, my heels are hard and dry, and I’ve started to notice bags under my eyes for the first time. Two years ago I lost a lot of weight, and all of the sudden, the skin on my neck started to sag.  (I think when I weighed more, maybe that skin was backed up with fat?)  I felt like that happened practically overnight. Then the other day, I noticed a callous on my ankle bone that was totally numb.

Art Prof has been consuming my days lately, but I really need to keep drawing.  I don’t have time right now to devote entire days to drawing, so I’m settling for sketches.  Today I drew this fragment above, of the bags under my eyes that are emerging, and the dark patch I have on my right cheekbone. (don’t worry, I’ve had it checked) This sketch was a piece of my body that I see aging. I started thinking, what if I drew “drawing fragments” of the parts of my body that have started to show the aging process? A project like this would certainly satisfy my love of drawing from life,  (which I actually haven’t done for years) and would be manageable given my already hectic schedule. I’m also interested in the idea of coming back to directly drawing myself, given that in Falling, I used an actress as a surrogate for myself.

On the treadmill I began thinking about assembling these fragments to create a figure, except that large sections would be missing. I’d keep making these fragments until I assembled a figure, and then start again.  I would continue drawing these fragments, knowing that with each year, there will be more signs of aging, and the figure will become more complete.  Until I get to the point where all of the fragments are a full figure. I’m not sure I’ll have the patience for this, as it really would take years for a project like this to make sense.  I love that something new is percolating, as if I didn’t already have enough to do!

“Pride Swallowing Seige”

KPCC
Artprof.org has been out there for a month, and we are slowly gaining traction. Milestones like the KPCC article (above) were very exciting to see!

You would think with the site launched it would be time to step back and rest a bit?  Not at all.  In fact, if anything, I am feeling an even stronger urgency to keep moving forward.

Right now, it seems like publicity is what will make or break us. The people who know about Art Prof love it, we’ve gotten some very thoughtful and poignant messages from people across that world that have convinced me that we are doing something right.

Although we have made incredible strides, working on publicity, I still feel like Tom Cruise in this clip when he talks about an “up at dawn, pride swallowing seige.”

Over the past few years, when I have done publicity for my own studio work, I certainly had to go around asking (begging) to have my work shown. Art Prof is an ocean of asking compared to that drop of water.

I’m at the point where over the past 3 years, I have had to reach out to such an immense number of people who I have no relationship with that I am actually GRATEFUL when I get a rejection. “Wow, you took 1 minute to write me a rejection?  I’m that valuable?!?”  For a project like this to function, you have to be okay with being ignored.  All. The. Time.

I leave my pride at the door, and just keep asking.  Hopefully we’ll find that “yes” we are looking for very 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.

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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.

Your Questions, Answered on Artprof.org!

One aspect of artprof.org that I am very excited about is the fact that we have a team of diverse Teaching Assistants on staff!  While I have expertise in a number of fields in visual arts, nothing substitutes having a team of artists who bring contrasting voices to the table. I like the fact that as a staff of teaching artists, we don’t always agree in our conversations, especially when we do critiques on the site and have discussions on different topics.

Visual arts is such an open field where the possibilities are infinite.  On one hand this is wonderful, but studying visual arts can also be overwhelming when you are trying to find your own path.  I know that when I was in art school, one approach that really helped me immensely was to hear different opinions on the same subject.  I learned drawing from 8 different professors, each of whom had their own take on the subject.  You won’t agree with every point of view or opinion, but that process of exposing yourself to everything that is out there is critical towards forming your own identity as an artist.  That’s what artprof.org can provide, that I could never provide before.

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Those of you who want professional, trusted advice about being an artist, register for FREE on artprof.org and you can comment and ask your questions anywhere on the site!  I often times get the same question over and over again, and now we finally have a public forum where we can all benefit from different answers from the Art Prof staff.

Register here!  You get to create your own Artist Profile when you register, marking your interests in visual arts.  From there, our site will create a personal track for you, which will provide recommendations to pages on the site according to your personal preferences. personal-track.png


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.

March Art Dare!

Get info on the March Art Dare!

Subscribe to the Art Dares email list and be notified each month

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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.


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

Artprof.org is here!!

by Clara Lieu

We are pleased to announce that artprof.org is now LIVE!!!  After all the blood, sweat and tears of the past 3 years I am in complete disbelief that we actually made it this far.  What started as a 1 paragraph blog post is now a full fledged, online educational platform for visual arts.

Thank you to our Kickstarter supporters, to the artists who granted us permission to feature their artwork, to the professionals who were willing to give a complete stranger advice on how to get started 3 years ago, to those of you who trudged through a snowstorm so I could film footage, to the artists who participated in our monthly Art Dares, to the many artists and teachers who did many rounds of usability testing on the site, to the art teachers on Facebook who I have never met but who were more than happy to help in so many ways, to the artists who allowed us to critique their artwork, to our followers who have watched us grow, to my family, friends, and colleagues who provided unwavering support and advice, to all of you who BELIEVED in Art Prof early on, cheered us on with your enthusiasm, and many more.

My brain is complete mush from working around the clock for the past few weeks, so I am sure there are other groups of people who helped who I am missing, but please know that I so deeply appreciate every shred of support mattered, every single contribution made a difference.  Launching a major platform like this is no small feat, and it’s one that truly takes a village.  Art Prof would never have happened without you!

RISD Pre-College, Clara Lieu, RISD Adjunct Professor

Thank you to my 2 groups of pre-college students, who provided ongoing, essential feedback on the project and website, who made me feel old and out of date, who explained to me how to use Snapchat, told me the secrets of using Instagram, who boosted me with their constant enthusiasm and energy, to the point that they would jump on board for tasks that hadn’t even been announced yet.  (that’s when I tacked on running through the hallways of their high school naked to their task list.  Hey, they asked for it!)

ART PROF Interns

Thank you to our summer 2016 interns, who put up with my meandering, spontaneous, random ideas, and who were willing to experiment and do (and come up with) odd tasks like run through sprinklers, swing from trees, jump into a lake with “Art Prof” written on their bare back, bake a cake with my face on it, construct a cardboard head of me that is traumatizing my children as it sits in my living room, design the most entertaining Prof fan art I’ve ever seen, and much more. Thank you to Janice Chun and Olivia Hunter, who provided indispensable support from in production assistance, video editing, designing, and much more.


There are no words to express my immense gratitude to our extraordinary Teaching Assistants: Casey Roonan, Lauryn Welch, Yves-Olivier Mandereau, Annie Irwin, Deepti Menon, and Alex Rowe, who had no idea what they were getting into when they said “yes” to an ambiguous email I sent to them way back in 2015. Their outstanding tenacity, perseverance, endless energy, enthusiasm was absolutely critical to the creation of Art Prof. I am the luckiest person in the world to have a dream team like this as my staff, and I am forever grateful to them for their unconditional faith in Art Prof. They were the part of the primordial soup of Art Prof, and were nuts enough to jump off the biggest cliff I’ve ever climbed with me.  Thank you TAs, Art Prof would not be here without you. I am not someone who cries at movies, but thinking about you, TAs, and what you have accomplished, I’m getting choked up.

Cheers to my amazing partner Thomas Lerra, for believing in my vision way back in March 2015, when a random art professor who pushed their way through 4 degrees of separation that took 4 months, to worm their way into your path. For your fundamental belief in our mission, and sticking with me, even in the most trying situations.  Tom walked the plank for Art Prof in a way that most people wouldn’t even dare think of. He was my rock, keeping a level head through thick and thin, through every challenge when we were blocked by numerous obstacles, and banging our heads against the wall with frustration. I’m still astounded that I found Tom, it’s very rare that you find someone who is willing to invest so much into an artist’s vision.

Clara Lieu, Thomas Lerra, and Alex Hart on the Art Prof set

Lastly, the person who really, truly made Art Prof happen is my husband Alex Hart. Without Alex, there would literally be no Art Prof.  Let’s put it this way:  if Alex sent me an invoice for the colossal numbers of hours he willingly put into Art Prof over the past 3 years, I’m sure it would be at least 7 figures.  (this is not counting a bill for emotional support and daily therapy) It’s one thing to have a vision and mission, it’s another thing to actually make it happen and turn it into a tangible product, and Alex was the one who facilitated the execution of Art Prof. His comprehensive skills in video, sound, graphic design, and much more were what made Art Prof into a concrete, usable platform.

Alex was literally always there, behind the scenes doing all of the invisible technical work that most people never saw, or were even aware of. He did every conceivable task: everything from the most mundane to the most technically challenging.  He made coffee for the TAs when they stayed at my house for filming, researched every single piece of equipment we purchased, gave me tutorials on how to properly use tripods and equipment, dealt with multiple panicked phone calls from me in the middle of the work day, spent many long, tedious hours glued to headphones and a computer doing the sound mixes, cared for our kids on more weekends than I can count, put up with me when I was super grouchy and sleep deprived, and much more.  All of that, with no complaints. (well, okay 99% of the time) Most importantly, through all of that, Alex kept telling me that he believed in me.

Thank you everyone, I am so grateful to all of you for making my dream come true!!

Clara Lieu & Alex Hart 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.

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Many Roles at Art Prof

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by Clara Lieu

We are truly in the home stretch for the site launch: I finished up editing the final video for the site launch last night. I’ve been working on preparing content for the site launch around the clock, and there have been some very late nights with just a few hours of sleep. All I can say is, I will be really, really glad when we finally go live!

When I look back on the past 3 years, it’s crazy to think how much has changed in the project. While the fundamental concept of Art Prof is still the same, the delivery and presentation of our content could not be more different than when I started back in 2014.   It’s been really challenging to constantly revise our content and formats all the time.  We often times spent many hours preparing content and getting everything set up, only to decide to scrap it a few days later.  I’m used to throwing out artwork, but definitely not to the degree that we have done on Art Prof. This is a completely different scenario as well, because when I decide to scrap something it affects our entire staff, not just me.

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On the other hand, I am also confident that those major changes vastly improved our content.  I know that it’s so tempting to keep something because you don’t want to throw out something you slaved over, but I’m glad we didn’t keep things that obviously weren’t working.  One of my greatest concerns has been efficiency, distilling our content to the most core essentials and delivering it in the most clear, succinct way possible. So much of our process was just shaving down our content to the barest essentials, which is much harder than it sounds!

Art Prof has hands down been the most ambitious project I have ever worked on. One of the toughest parts is the multiple roles I’ve had to take on, I think if I listed all of my roles, it would be something like:  director, video editor, production designer, writer, manager, publicist, webmaster, accountant, producer, chauffeur, cook, janitor, mover, buyer, wake up service, “hotel” manager, travel agent, interior designer, art director, photographer, and more…

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I’m hoping that at some point I’ll have fewer roles, because it’s making me a little nuts to have to be responsible for so many parts of the project. But with projects like this, you quickly realize that because you don’t have a large budget, if you don’t do it, it simply won’t get done. I realized that Art Prof will only go as far as I want it to go.  Given my compulsive attitude about doing nothing half way, I decided early on that Art Prof is going ALL THE WAY!

Sometimes, when I find myself doing grunt work like getting on my hands and knees scrubbing paint off the floor, I wonder how I got here. On the other hand, it always makes me think of the elementary school principal I used to work with many years ago.  I taught at a private elementary school in a posh neighborhood, and sometimes when I was at the school late, I would hear the principal throwing garbage bags from each floor down the stairs.  I was always baffled to see the principal, who had this lovely classy office and who wore a bow tie and suit every day,  taking out the trash.  Then I remember that he literally started the school all by himself, with only 3 students the first year. After Art Prof, I totally understand why he still took out the trash after so many years.

Don’t miss the site launch, it’s seriously just around the corner!!!  Subscribe to our email list to be notified. 

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ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts which provides equal access to art education for people of all ages and means.

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Portfolio Video Critiques for Art Students & Artists
Prof Clara Lieu offers 30 minute video critiques on 8-20 artworks for students working on a portfolio for art school admission, and for artists of any age working on their artwork. Watch a sample below, and get more info here.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories, and post select submissions on our Instagram  and other sites throughout the month. Use #artprofwip and Prof Clara Lieu might just stop by and give you some feedback! We have a special prize for art teachers who assign the Art Dare to one of their classes. More info is here.


Ask the Art Prof Live was a weekly live video broadcast on our Facebook page where Prof Clara Lieu provided professional advice for art students and professional artists. Ask the Art Prof began as a written column in 2013 and was featured in the Huffington Post from 2013-2015.  See the full archive of columns here. Prof Lieu discussed being an artist today, art technique & materials, work strategies for artists, career advice, teaching art, and more.

500 Sheets

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By Deepti Menon, Art Prof Teaching Assistant

During my junior year as a Film/Animation/Video student, I took a year-long animation course. Prior to this, I had taken the required introductory animation class, but this intermediate course was when I really discovered a new way to think.

Coming into this major, I had no prior experience animating, but knew it was a magical thing that I wanted to do. My prior artistic experiences and processes always involved a lot of meticulous planning and reworking of a single image until I saw it done. Additionally, my exposure to animation was pretty basic – character-based work with clean lines and seamlessly fluid movement. Therefore, this is how I approached my animations. I placed a lot of thought into creating the characters and story line and spent a ton of time on the details of each frame.

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However, this all changed during one day of this intermediate animation course. My professor gave us each 500 sheets of printer paper and set a timer for an hour. We weren’t given any light boxes or ways to see our progress, just the paper and our pens. Our only instruction was to finish animating the 500 pages before the timer was up. To me, this was absurd. I would usually complete five frames in an hour, maybe six. Realizing my usual methods were not going to cut it, I was forced to rethink what it meant to animate. By the end of the hour, I had create a frenzy of shapes and scribbles dancing across the white page. Watching the animation, I could see the points where panic set in and the decision-making unfold.

The animation wasn’t anything like I had made before. I was amazed. Primarily, I was amazed that I completed the task. However, I was also so drawn to how the animation embodied the pace and panic of the task itself. I found that watching my classmates also taught me a lot. One student penetrated the whole ream of paper with a sharp object, creating a hole in each piece of paper that varied slightly with each page. The variety in rips created a subtle yet stunning animation that reminded me a lot of an organism breathing. Another student allowed a marker to bleed through the entire ream of paper, creating a stunning transition of ink blots transitioning and fading. I was drawn to the simplicity of these ideas and how they can create connotations with such minimal imagery.

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Although my final product wasn’t something I was going to submit to film festivals, it changed the way I approached my ideas and the process of animation, paying more attention to how an artistic process can inform the content behind it. I also began to see how beneficial it was to challenge yourself with something like a time restraint. This led me to create another animation, “Shell”, where I had a time restraint and had to create movement from a static object.

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ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts which provides equal access to art education for people of all ages and means.

Be notified of our 2017 site launch by subscribing to our email list.

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FB  Youtube   tumblr   Pinterest   LinkedIn   Instagram   Twitter   snap_chat  email  etsy


Portfolio Video Critiques for Art Students & Artists
Prof Clara Lieu offers 30 minute video critiques on 8-20 artworks for students working on a portfolio for art school admission, and for artists of any age working on their artwork. Watch a sample below, and get more info here.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories, and post select submissions on our Instagram  and other sites throughout the month. Use #artprofwip and Prof Clara Lieu might just stop by and give you some feedback! We have a special prize for art teachers who assign the Art Dare to one of their classes. More info is here.


Ask the Art Prof Live was a weekly live video broadcast on our Facebook page where Prof Clara Lieu provided professional advice for art students and professional artists. Ask the Art Prof began as a written column in 2013 and was featured in the Huffington Post from 2013-2015.  See the full archive of columns here. Prof Lieu discussed being an artist today, art technique & materials, work strategies for artists, career advice, teaching art, and more.