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.

 

Video Editing Hibernation

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by Clara Lieu

Although I’m now fairly proficient with using Premiere to edit video, I’m still learning more every day about the editing process.  I’m constantly looking for ways to make my editing process more efficient, but it’s still a rocky process at times, with occasional moments of panic that can be pretty stressful.

However, as challenging as the process is, learning how to shoot and edit video has been really exciting. It’s been really interesting for me to compare how completely different the process is compared to drawing/printmaking/sculpture. Not only are the materials incredibly different, but the entire mindset and work rhythms are in great contrast to what I’m used to.  For example, I’m accustomed to having only about 40% of what I create actually get used and exhibited in a public setting. The concept of not using everything I create, and throwing out pieces that took hours of labor is not foreign.  However, I was not prepared for how much more dramatic this would process would be in terms of video. I feel like with video, only about 5% of what I create actually ends up in the finished product.

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Putting together our sizzle reel to announce the upcoming site launch took a painful amount of time for a video that is only 1:30 minutes long. I spent two afternoons outside of our studio shooting B roll clips with various artists that amounted to about 10 hours total. In the end, only about 15 seconds of those 10 hours ended up in the sizzle reel.

When editing the tutorials, I feel like I’m lopping off heads left and right.  I do several passes of editing because each time I watch the footage, I see something different. A video that began as a 10 minutes long, gets whittled down to 7 minutes, then 5 minutes, and then 3 minutes.  I’m hoping that in the future my first pass of editing will be more vicious, but I’m amazed at how difficult it is to judge your own content and ask yourself, “do I REALLY need this clip?” Boiling the videos now to the barest essentials is so challenging, and I’ve had to make some tough decisions about what is truly critical to get across. People have such short attention spans today, and I know that if I ramble off about something I will lose them.  I would rather teach a short lesson that gets people to truly grasp a simple, fundamental idea really well, than have them watch a tutorial that is overly full of detail to the point that they end up tuning out.

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On top of that, there are so many details to this process that it’s hard for me to even keep them straight.  I had absolutely no clue that file storage was going to become such a huge issue. With the vast quantity of video we are shooting,  I had a bit of scare this week because my laptop started crashing really often.  My laptop was getting too full and we had to buy several new drives and compulsively back everything up in several places to be sure that nothing would be lost. Things got so bad that I actually spent 2 whole days just organizing, renaming, and copying files.  I can’t think of a task that is more boring and tedious, but it was critical to do.  The thought of losing everything was enough to scare me into doing it!

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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 early 2017 site launch by subscribing to our email list.

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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.

Get Featured on the ART PROF blog by Tweeting and Posting!

supporters

Visual artists, art educators and art organizations are eligible to become ART PROF supporters if you have at least 300 followers on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter! In exchange for posting about ART PROF to your social media sites(s), you’ll get a thumbnail image linked to your website here on our blog. (our blog gets 14k monthly visitors)

In our Supporters section, we have a page for visual artists, a page for art educators, and a page for art organizationsEmail us or comment on this post for more details!  See below some of the wonderful artists and organizations who have supported us so far with their social media posts.

Helpful_Art_Teacher  Phyllis  GMS

melinda_nguyen2  Becca_rand  kai_lun_qu  Randal_Robins  Elizabeth_Yuan  Shane_T_Velez  Maya_Sternberg  Marly  kate_atherton  julie_benbassat   concord_art  Eda_Soylu.jpg


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 Prototype Preview #1

Imagine if a page like the one you see below was live, with each image linked to another individual page that was packed with written text, and short format videos featuring content that has been honed over several decades of learning, making, and teaching visual arts. A comprehensive encyclopedia of art supplies to give you important details and recommendations on art supplies you already know about, and to help you discover and get acquainted with new art supplies you never knew existed.

Guess what?  This page exists.  I was clicking through it this afternoon, but it’s not publicly available-yet.

If our Kickstarter campaign is successful, that means that several pages that like this one, and many more sections of our prototype will become free and accessible to the public. Donate before July 19!  (Remember, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing format.  If we do not reach our goal, we will receive no funding.)

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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.


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 Intern: Olivia Hunter

A gigantic part of ART PROF is the extraordinary team of current students and emerging artists who make up our group of 6 Teaching Assistants and 10 Interns.  They’ve done everything from brainstorming their eyes out in long discussion threads, replied to panicked text messages from me at 7am, told me when I was doing some stupid,  (which happens pretty often) talked me out of some really bad ideas, explained to me how to use Snap chat (you know you’re old when someone younger than you has to explain technology to you) and in some cases, prevented what could have been seriously disastrous situations by thinking quickly on their feet. They’ve even had the audacity to give me my own advice. 🙂

ART PROF would not be what it is today without this phenomenal team. Starting today, I’d like you to meet these incredible artists and their contributions to ART PROF. In the coming weeks, they’ll share with you art tips and advice that can only come from a seasoned artist, anecdotes about their art school experience, tell you some hysterical stories about me, and even make some artworks specifically for ART PROF.

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When I met Olivia, I knew immediately within about 5 minutes of talking with her how thoughtful, intelligent, and hardworking she was.  Sometimes when I meet people my first impression is totally off, but in this case, I just knew. It’s extremely rare that a student would begin my class with so much self-discipline and willingness to work.  The vast majority of students in my classes take at least 2- 4 weeks to figure out how to manage their time and adapt to the rigor of the course. Not Olivia, she invested monumental hours of labor into her pieces, was incredibly tenacious, and was so willing and receptive to try anything.

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I’ve been teaching for a decade now, and let’s just say it’s getting harder and harder for me to remember specific students and project. However, Olivia’s final project has been burned into my head since I saw it for the first time.  (see above) Olivia and I both agree that the critique she received in this class wasn’t her strongest of the semester, and that it had some composition issues. Fundamentally though, I found the concept behind the piece to be very moving and absolutely riveting. Even the four words in the piece by themselves were so powerful and emotional. You can see all of the pieces Olivia did in my class here.

When Olivia helped out with our shoot a few days ago, she and I had a brief conversation about maybe doing some future pieces that might develop the idea further. Now I want you to hear from her!

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“Hi! My name is Olivia, and I’m from Boston, Massachusetts. I just graduated from high school and I am super excited to go to the Parsons School of Design in the fall of 2016.  I’m planning to major in Communications Design.

All of my life I have loved making art in almost every form, especially photography, painting, and drawing.  Fun fact: a small section of my bedroom is dedicated to my growing collection of vintage film cameras!  The art program at my high school really allowed me to explore the different areas in art, through focused and attentive art educators and syllabi that pushed me to think creatively.

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With this being said, I still felt like I was missing something or someone to push me even further. After attending the RISD Pre-College progam and being in Proofessor Lieu’s Design Fundamentals course, I learned so much about myself as an art student. RISD Pre-College was what ultimately what made me want to go to an art school!

It saddens me when I hear about many school art programs being almost non-existent. I love being a part of ART PROF since this platform will help those  without access to art classes, so they can practice art more and to learn to think creatively.”

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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.


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.

Sneak Peek #5


I’ve always loved the multiple personalities a kneaded eraser has! You really can be a total dictator and make the eraser do whatever you want. We are just 4 days away from our BIG news on June 14!  Don’t miss the announcement and subscribe to my email list.

I’m jumping out of my skin and working around the clock at this point. You know you’re working hard when you’re a major foodie and eating becomes an “inconvenience”, you have to “remember” to use the bathroom, you’ve been editing videos in Premiere for 2 hours before you brush your teeth & eat breakfast in the morning, (as I write this at 11:50am, I STILL haven’t brushed my teeth or put in my contact lenses yet) and when you look at the clock, which says “11:45pm” and think to yourself, “I still have so much time tonight!”

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When you’re working this hard, it’s definitely the biggest contradiction:  you’re so thrilled, passionate and exhilarated about your project, but you’re so intensely grouchy, sleep deprived, and aching with anxiety and petrifying fear! I’ll take those symptoms as a sign that things are headed in the right direction…

Ask the Art Prof: How Can I Study to Become a Professional Visual Artist on My Own?

Final Crit

“I am 23 years old, and I’m a beginning visual artist. I really want to get to a professional level, but I have no idea how to teach myself to get to that level. I can’t afford to go to art school and I don’t have much money for local classes and workshops. Is there any way I could do this on my own?”

At an individual level, there are a number of initiatives you can take to begin to train yourself. Most importantly, you have to invest many hours of daily practice over a period of several years. Don’t be too precious with your work. Instead, maintain a high production rate so that you are churning out several finished pieces a week. Get several instructional books so that you can see contrasting ways of approaching the same topics and techniques. Experiment and work with a diverse range of media and formats. As a beginning student, exposure to different materials and approaches is initially much more important than trying to master one technique.

However, for even the most disciplined person, these directives barely skim the surface. The truth is that studying by yourself has major limitations. This is true for any field: musicians have to practice their instruments for several hours every day. However, no amount of individual practice will develop the skills they need to play with other musicians. If you can’t play with other musicians, you can’t function at a professional level. Visual art is no different; interaction with other artists is absolutely necessary. For people not enrolled in a degree program, taking a local class or workshop is the best way to meet other artists in person. Taking a class does require some kind of financial investment, but there’s no way around it if you truly want to become a professional.

Opening Reception

From the outside it may look like being a visual artist is just about putting in the hours to create the artwork, and it is true that many professional visual artists are by themselves when they create artwork. However, making the artwork is just one component of being a professional visual artist. A crucial part of being an artist is fostering in-depth relationships and maintaining a continuous dialogue with other artists in person. These conversations have multiple purposes: receiving critical feedback on your artwork, getting guidance from a more experienced artist, networking with other professionals, and much more.

A fundamental part of being an artist is the critique process. The critique process is ongoing for all artists, regardless of whether they are a student or professional. As an art student, group critiques were central to my growth. I had the opportunity to hear a diverse range of opinions and get concrete suggestions for how to improve. I learned just as much from my peers as I did from my professors. In addition to getting constructive criticism from my peers, I gained tremendously from seeing the artwork they created in response to the same assignments.

Even though I work professionally now, I still actively seek out critiques from my colleagues on a regular basis. Critiques provide significant insight on my work that I would never see on my own. Many artists spend numerous hours working on a piece, which usually involves staring at one image for a long period of time. When I’m working, I know that I inevitably lose perspective and I have to take a break in order to step outside of myself. Being too close to the piece, I don’t trust myself to make sound judgments. I tend to get caught up in one aspect of the work which consequently results in my overlooking issues that should be obvious. I ask my colleagues for reactions at different stages of a project: during the brainstorming process, on my preparatory sketches, and on the final works. No artist can rely exclusively on themselves to critique their artwork; bringing in an outside eye is essential.

Opening reception

Artists have to develop an awareness of how their artwork might be received before they show their work publicly. First year art school students in my classes are initially surprised by how easy it is for their intentions to be misinterpreted. I once had a student who brought in a self-portrait drawing which depicted a view of her head tilted back and her chin raised up which extended her neck. At the group critique, she described the drawing as a tranquil, contemplative self-portrait. To the rest of the class though, the neck in the drawing was a blatant phallus. The student was completely mortified that her drawing was interpreted this way. But, she had been so entrenched in her thoughts while she was working that she had failed to see the obvious. Nowadays, I require my students to get feedback from at least 2-3 other students while they are working on their assignments.

Working independently can get you started, but ultimately being a professional artist requires experience that can only be gained by working with other people. Being a professional artist is rigorous and demands that you assume multiple roles. On top of making the artwork, you have to be your own manager, publicist, archivist, photographer, webmaster, installer, and more. Prioritize placing yourself in a context with other artists, and in this way you will gain valuable experience that will put you on track to becoming a professional.


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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