The Future of Artprof.org


Since launching Artprof.org, it’s been thrilling for me to watch our creative community grow. When I’m having a crummy day, I re-read viewer testimonials, which always gives me a lift. Here’s one that made me laugh out loud: “I’ve replaced Netflix with Art Prof Instagram Live videos.”  Now that’s a compliment!

In our staff group, we have many lists.  One list stands out: my queue of 34 videos that have been sitting on my server for weeks, some even for months. Why?  We don’t have the funding to hire a sound designer to do the sound mixes. (that’s not even counting the hundreds of hours of footage that have been shot, but not edited!)

With the exception of 2 interns this summer, I have done all of the editing since we started.  Not because I knew anything about editing, but because if I didn’t do it, no one else would. (only took me a year to learn Premiere!)

After being on sabbatical, I’m returning to teach at RISD in September. With my teaching schedule, I know that I won’t be able to keep my prior production schedule. The only solution is to hire editors and sound designers.

If everyone on this email list donated $5 a month, we could easily pay our TAs, editors, sound designers, a web developer, and cover critical expenses. Beyond that, we can show you what we are REALLY capable of!!!

One fundamental premise of our mission was for Artprof.org to be 100% free. I really, really don’t want to have to set up a paywall, but we’re at a point where we may have to. I literally have 20 years of content stuck in my head that I want to share with you! I care deeply about this artistic family and I want so much for us to keep thriving.

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.

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Will Art Prof Survive My Return to Teaching?

Artist profile on Judy Brown, the latest release in our Emerging Artist section.


I was on sabbatical from RISD this past spring semester, so the last time I was teaching on campus was way back in December 2016! As much as it was wonderful to finally have the head space to think clearly during sabbatical, it’s also been lovely to come back to campus.  I missed seeing former students and colleagues on a weekly basis. (I’m not an artist who can sit in the studio by myself for 8 hours every day.)

However, my life is very different from where I was in December 2016. The difference? Artprof.org, which didn’t exist before I went on sabbatical. This summer I’m teaching studio courses 5 days at week at RISD Pre-College. While my schedule is still densely packed with my commitments in teaching and Art Prof, I’ve got an incredible team of interns who are producing written columns for our Emerging Artists section, writing thoughtful and constructive comments on Artprof.org, creating video content for future use, and much more.

 

Most importantly, I have 2 Assistant Editors, Monika Hedman and Anjali Shankar, who are burning through our vast stock of video content, which has been huge in terms of getting new content released. The preparatory editing process is extremely tedious, and having that part of the process lifted from my shoulders has made all the difference in the world.  Despite that support, there is still plenty to do. I’m still doing heavy lifting in the second half of the editing process. I’m compulsive about keeping our high standards of quality that regardless of my 2 Assistant Editors, the process remains very time consuming.

However, this fall I’m returning to RISD, and I’ll be teaching 2 courses in the Printmaking department; Relief Projects and Senior Print Workshop Seminar.

I’m worried.

The teaching load in the fall is a little less than what I’m doing now, but the big difference is that my amazing team of interns are going to disappear in the fall, along with my 2 Assistant Editors. I’m scared that we won’t be able to continue hiring our incredible staff of Teaching Assistants, maintain content production at a reasonable pace, and keep Artprof.org 100% free.

 

Our options aren’t pretty.

We could stop hiring our Teaching Assistants, and lose an extraordinary team that make Art Prof what it is. We could set up a paywall on Artprof.org, which in my opinion basically destroys our mission to provide a free visual arts education for everyone. Or our content production slows to such a pace that we release a tutorial only once or twice a year. And that still includes myself, my partner Thomas Lerra, and Alex Hart all continuing to work on a volunteer basis.

I have only 2 months to figure this out.  Despite our push for donations on our Patreon, the donations have been very slim.

Which is why I’m going to ask you, if Artprof.org is a resource you are learning from, please consider a monthly donation to keep us alive. Even $1 a month will make a difference! 

Consider this: if every person on our mailing list gave us $1 a month, none of the hypothetical scenarios will happen in September.

 

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.

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.

“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.

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.