Ask the Art Prof Live # 8: Should I do the Starving Artist Phase in New York City?

NYC after art school

Instead of NYC, move to a smaller city after art school

Go to NYC later in your career

A miserable experience in NYC immediately after art school

Sit back, clear your head, and process your 4 years at art school

Consider graduate school in NYC

Artists are always re-evaluating and re-thinking

Ask the Art Prof Live is a weekly live video broadcast on my Facebook page where I provide 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. Ask me your questions by commenting on the live video post as the video streams, and I’ll answer right away. I’ll discuss being an artist today, art technique & materials, work strategies for artists, career advice, teaching art, and more. Like my Facebook page and you’ll receive a notification when each live video begins.

Related Live Videos
#7: How do I Improve My Art?  How do I Find My Artistic Style?
#6: Teaching High School Art, Teaching Color
#5:  Starting Art School, Avoiding Cliches
#4:  Oversaturation, Brainstorming, Beginning a Series
#3:  Personal Themes, Never Too Late to Start Drawing
#2:  Aches While Drawing, Professional Artwork vs. Student Artwork
#1:  Graduate MFA Programs

Subscribe to my email list! I send announcements only a few times a year. There’s a big announcement coming up in mid June that you won’t want to miss.

Free Art Portfolio Review Event in Concord, MA


For artists of all ages!


Concord Center for the Visual Arts
37 Lexington Rd., Concord, MA, 01742
(978) 369-2578

Sunday, June 19, 12-4pm

Bring your art portfolio and get 1 or more 15 minute reviews from professional artists. Unique opportunity to receive diverse feedback from several trusted professionals all in one day! Great chance for art students and professional artists seeking support on their work, and for high school students working on a portfolio for college admission. You don’t even have to get a review to attend this event-we’ll set up the event to create an open environment where everyone can see other artist portfolios, and learn from listening to everyone else’s critiques. This event is free, but registration is required to be guaranteed a review.

Can’t make it to this event?
3 more free portfolio/critique events and a major art education project are coming in June and July!
Stay tuned by subscribing to our email list.

Still can’t come? Check out my art portfolio video critiques & Ask the Art Prof


Twitter     Youtube     tumblr    Pinterest    Instagram    FB    email

Portfolio Requirements
Please bring 5-8 artworks created in any media for your portfolio. Neatly organize your portfolios in advance to ensure an efficient review. We strongly prefer to see actual artwork, but we are willing to view artwork on laptops/tablets. (no phones)

This event is free, but registration is required to be guaranteed a review.
If you want to only look at portfolios and listen to critiques, no registration is necessary. Please register for a maximum of 2 slots. Register here.  If you sign up for more than 2 slots, we will delete the extra slots. If there are still slots open the day of the event, slots will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis at our information table. At that point, you can sign up for as many reviews as you want. You are welcome to show up the day of the event without registering in advance, however we cannot guarantee that you will receive a review. If you are not present at your slot time, your slot will be given to someone else. Feel free to RSVP on our Facebook event

Portfolio Reviewers

Clara Lieu is an Adjunct Professor at RISD, and a fine artist who works in drawing, printmaking, and sculpture. She wrote “Ask the Art Prof,” an advice column for visual artists for the Huffington Post for 3 years, and now hosts a weekly live video broadcast of the column on her Facebook page.  Watch her video critiques here.

Cynthia Katz is a photographer and has taught photography and bookbinding in the Visual Arts Department at Concord Academy for over 20 years. Her work has been exhibited widely throughout galleries in New England.

Wendy Seller is a fine artist working in digital media, painting, and photographic images. She has taught at Simmons College and RISD, and has had her work exhibited throughout galleries and museums in New England. Recently she was awarded an artist-in-residence fellowship by the Ballinglen Foundation.

Casey Roonan is a freelance illustrator and a cartoonist. Casey does editorial illustrations for the blog Narratively, and other clients. He writes and edit an anthology-format comic book called Ciambella with Mike Karpiel. Listen to one of Casey’s critiques here.

Lauryn Welch is a painter and performance artist who teaches at the Peterborough Art Academy.  Her artwork was featured on the cover of Art New England, and was recently shown in “Portraits, Expanded” at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center.

Sara Bloem is a multimedia artist working in drawing and installation. She was recently an artist-in-residence at the University of Indonesia, where she worked on a series of drawings exploring multiculturalism. Listen to one of Sara’s critiques here.

Subscribe to my email list! I send announcements only a few times a year. There’s a big announcement coming up in a few weeks that you won’t want to miss.

Giveaway #2: Free Audio Critique Pack


We’re doing another giveaway! This week, one lucky person is going to win an “Audio Crit Pack,” a 2 minute audio critique from myself, and artists Yves-Olivier Mandereau, Annie Irwin, and Alex Rowe on one of their artworks. (total critique time is 8 minutes) Getting feedback on your artwork can be challenging if you’re not in school, and here’s a unique opportunity to get trusted advice from not one, but four professional artists!

To enter, do one of the following by Wed., May 18, 11:59pm EST:

  1. Subscribe to my email list
  2. Post my Ask the Art Prof page to your Facebook status; be sure to use #artprof and make your post public so we can find it.
  3. Like my Facebook page.
  4. Retweet my tweet about this giveaway.
  5. Reblog my Ask the Art Prof page on your WordPress blog.

I will email/message the winner this week with directions for how to submit their artwork and a text statement (maximum 100 words) or an audio recording (maximum length 1 minute) to accompany their artwork.  The artwork is due Monday, May 23. If the winner doesn’t submit their artwork by that deadline, we’ll pick another winner.

Please note that if you win this giveaway, your artwork and audio critiques will be posted here on my blog. You can have your artwork posted either 1) anonymously, 2) with your name or 3) with your name linked to your website.

Below is a sample Audio Crit Pack:

Student Collage

25″ x 15″, cut paper collage on mat board

“’I wear makeup because I hate my face,’ is a truth that drives my lengthy morning ritual. I used collage because I wanted to mimic the mishmash of packaging in my makeup bag, and to give the piece a graphic style reminiscent of magazine advertising. I used a clear paint medium on paper to create glossy lids, a razor blade to score ridges, and experimented with translucent paper.  I recreated my makeup collection, complete with labels explaining the true intention of each product, instead of its actual labeling.”

Casey Roonan, Teaching Assistant
Casey Roonan, Illustrator & Cartoonist
“You could think about it this way: What role are these elements playing on a metaphorical level?”
Mentioned: Maira Kalman, Claude Cahun

Sara Bloem, Teaching Assistant
Sara Bloem, Multimedia Artist
“Use your materials to show that tension more clearly. Let your materials tell the story too.”
Mentioned: Louise Bourgeois

Yves-Olivier Mandereau, Teaching Assistant
Yves-Olivier Mandereau, Designer, Ceramic Artist
“This piece can definitely resonate with a lot of different people.”
Mentioned:  Barbara Kruger, Mickalene ThomasCindy Sherman

Clara Lieu, Visual Artist & Adjunct Professor at RISD
Clara Lieu, Fine Artist & Adjunct Professor at RISD
“What’s so striking to me about this piece is the absolute, brutal honesty of the text statement.”

Subscribe to my email list! I send announcements only a few times a year. There’s a big announcement coming up in a few weeks that you won’t want to miss.

Recent Video Critiques of Student Art Portfolios for College & Art School Admission

Student Portfolio for college/art school admission by Emily Jiang

I’ve been doing video critiques on student portfolios for college/art school admission for a few months now, and just recently began doing video critiques for professional artists. Many people have commented what a great learning experience it was for them to listen to these critiques. For this reason, I’m now offering the option to have your video critique featured here on my blog, on my Facebook page, and on my Youtube channel. You can choose to have your critique featured anonymously, with your name, or to keep it private.

I’ve also had people inquire about purchasing artworks seen in the video critiques. I am happy to connect artists with anyone who is interested in their artwork. More information on my video critique program is here.

Student Portfolio for college/art school admission by Dessery Dai

For many students who begin art school, group critiques are an unfamiliar format of discussion that takes some adjustment. It’s quite common that the vast majority of students people make an initial assumption that the only interesting part of a group critique is when their own artwork is being discussed.  On the contrary, pretty much all of my students talk about how beneficial it is to hear how someone else’s artwork is received and discussed.  What’s especially interesting is to witness the range of reactions and feedback other artworks facilitate, this really can dramatically broaden your awareness as an artist.

Final Crit

One of the reasons hearing other people’s critiques is so effective is that when it’s not your artwork being discussed, you can listen to the critique much more objectively.  I know for most artists, (myself included) at times we are so close to the artwork and stuck in our own heads, that it can be tough to distance yourself and absorb critical feedback.

More video critiques are coming soon, and they’re related to my big announcement which will be revealed in a few weeks. Let’s just say that these video critiques are a tiny appetizer compared to what’s coming soon. Don’t miss the big news!  Subscribe to my email list today.

Related articles
“What are common mistakes in college portfolio submissions?”
“What should you include in an art portfolio for art school or college?”
“7 tips for surviving art school.”
“To what extent do grades define an academic career in visual art?”
“Should I drop out of art school?”

The Visual Arts Resource that Didn’t Exist, and that Still Doesn’t 

Ed Emberley

My mother likes to tell me that I learned to draw before I learned to talk.  I drew voraciously as a child, and some of my favorite drawing books were by the children’s book author and illustrator Ed Emberley. His drawings are so quirky, playful, and incredibly expressive.  The instructions in his books are delightfully simple and easy to follow. There are so many god awful instructional drawing books out there for kids, and Ed Emberley’s books are unique, timeless classics that still resonate with me today as a professional artist.  I’ve been reliving moments from my childhood with his drawings with my own kids, who draw daily from his books. There’s something very special about seeing an image you haven’t seen in 30 years, but upon seeing it, feeling as though you drew it yesterday.


On the back page of Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals, is the above image. I found Emberley’s statement so remarkably poignant and moving.  So often I see long, pretentious explanations for why artists do what they do. Emberley’s statement is right to the point, and so incredibly honest and genuine.

I kept thinking about Emberley’s statement over the past few days.  His words relate to the motivation for my forthcoming project, which is going to be announced in a few weeks. Essentially, my project is for me, what Ed Emberley’s books were for him.   I desperately craved a rigorous, comprehensive visual arts resource in high school, but nothing like that existed.  Twenty years later, there is still nothing out there that measures up to what I wanted as a teenager.  Now I’m taking action to change that. Don’t miss the big release, subscribe to my email list today!

On the set of ART PROF at WGBH Studios in Boston, MA

Related articles
Pie in the Sky
Researching Art Tutorials

Sneak Peek

My pie in the sky from October 2014 is no longer pie in the sky…subscribe to my email list to make sure you don’t miss the big news!

On the set of ART PROF at WGBH Studios in Boston, MA

Related articles
Pie in the Sky
Researching Art Tutorials

Video Critiques for Professional Artists & Art Students

Since I expanded my video critique program to include professional artists a few weeks ago, I’ve critiqued many more portfolios. Above is a recent video critique I did for a professional artist.

Many of the artists who have contacted me for a video critique have commented about how difficult it is for them to find trusted feedback on their artwork. One artist said that since they are not enrolled in a degree program or art class, and don’t live in an area where there is a strong artist community, it was really tough for them to find someone who could provide a professional evaluation of their artwork. In this way, these video critiques are a good alternative to being in school and/or taking a class.

I also do video critiques for students working on a portfolio for college/art school admission, you can watch a sample below. If you are going to be applying for college/art school next year, now is the time to get feedback on your portfolio, while there’s still plenty of time to make changes.  Many students wait until a few weeks before their application deadline to get a video critique. Consequently, there’s no time left for them to improve their portfolio before their application deadlines, so start as soon as you can!

Video critiques are 30 minutes long for a review of portfolio of 8-20 artworks for a $60 USD fee. You can watch more sample video critiques and get info here

Subscribe to my email list! I send announcements only a few times a year.