Patience, Patience, Patience

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Art Prof Etsy shop is OPEN!

Caution:  Art Prof sticker, designed by Olivia Hunter

Check out the new Art Prof Etsy shop!  You’ll find fun items like stickers and T-shirts designed by Janice Chun, Casey Roonan, and Olivia Hunter. All sales will go towards funding our mission to provide a free visual arts education for people of all ages and means.

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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 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 Supplies that Change Your Life

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When you’re an artist, the tools and materials you choose to work with are so critical that they can make or break your experience creating an artwork. You would think that choosing what tools to use would be obvious, but the vast majority of the time, it’s not. Often times, the only way to really know if a tool is going to work or not is to buy it and try it out.   I’ve gone months and years banging my head against the wall trying to accomplish a very specific task, because I had no idea a particular tool existed that would have made all of my problems go away in a heart beat.

I was really interested in casting with plaster my freshman year at RISD, but I never got to take a class that focused specific on those techniques. Consequently, when I did create a plaster piece, I was constantly doing things wrong simply because I had the wrong tool. When you work with plaster, inevitably there will be some bump or surface in the piece that you need to get rid of.  I tried everything I could think of to smooth out those bumps on my plaster pieces: all different grits and types of sand paper, drywall sanding screens, a surform shaver, and more. Every tool I used was either not strong enough and took forever to get the right surface, or it was too coarse and could end up creating dents and marks in the plaster that messed up the smooth surface I needed.

It wasn’t until I went to graduate school 10 years later that one of my friends introduced me to metal rifflers, which are these tools that have curved ends that have a coarse surface.  Rifflers are absolutely perfect for shaving down the bumps on a plaster piece.  The curved ends of a riffler fit perfectly on the organic surface of of a plaster sculpture.  The coarse surface of that curved end does much more than sand paper, but isn’t so coarse that it digs too deep into the plaster.

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TEN years to figure this out. If only there had been a resource where I could have asked a team of professionals what would be best tool for this particular purpose, or an art supply glossary where I could have looked this type of thing up…. Hint:  if a resource that like would help you too, then subscribe to my email list today, and an announcement will arrive in your inbox in a few weeks that may solve this problem.


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.

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


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.

Ask the Art Prof Live #2: Aches While Drawing, Professional Artwork vs. Student Artwork

 

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Aches while drawing

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The artist’s run

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What distinguishes professional artwork from student artwork?

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Archival art materials


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.

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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
#8: Should I do the Starving Artist Phase in New York City?
#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
#1:  Graduate MFA Programs

Art Supply Store Recommendations

As part of my “Art Supply Tips” series, I thought it would make sense to share my recommendations for art supply stores that I’ve accumulated over the years. Some are specific to the NYC and Boston area, but you can order from almost all of these stores online.

You would think artists would only need to shop at one art supply store, but I have always had to shop at several stores to obtain everything I need. In many circumstances, I have had to research and hunt extensively to find obscure materials. If you can’t find what you need, I recommend talking to store managers to see if they can help you track down an item.  The RISD Store manager once helped me find and special order 7′ x 4′ sheets of Dura-Lar that I would never have found on my own.

General Art Supplies:

Make sure you go to a professional art supply store.  While some craft stores like Michael’s and AC Moore do sell some art supplies, their inventory is very limited and items are frequently much more expensive than they would be at a professional art supply store. I happened to be at Michael’s once, thinking I might as well pick up a sketchbook while I was there. The sketchbook was $20, so I didn’t buy it, and the following week I picked up a similar sketchbook at the RISD Store for $8.

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Dick Blick
Dick Blick has an excellent range of professional art supplies.  They’re the art supply store I go to first, and I can usually count on them to have the vast majority of art supplies that I need for both myself and for teaching.

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New York Central Art Supply
I am embarrassed to admit that I never went to this store when I was living in NYC.  I love that they are an independent art supply store, and their paper inventory is legendary among artists.

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Your local hardware store
I spend almost as much time at my local hardware store as I do at the art supply store. The art supply stores often carry the same items, but these items are almost always less expensive at a hardware store. I am always stocking up on tape, sand paper, solvents, cleaning supplies, and tools. On top of that, usually within 2 minutes of walking in the door, someone always asks me what I need.  I try to avoid Home Depot if I can, (although sometimes it’s unavoidable) I find shopping there to be really unpleasant.  I’ve had the staff there literally walk in the other direction when I was asking for help, and the overwhelming size of the store makes finding what you need daunting.

Sculpture Supplies:

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The Compleat Sculptor
When I was completing my MFA in sculpture in NYC, I was constantly making runs to this store.  This store has a dazzling array of obscure tools, and everything related to mold making and casting, and much more.  The other students and faculty complained all the time that their prices are too high, and one of my teachers always called it “The Compleat Rip-off.”  However, given how specialized their materials are, the incredible selection, and the knowledgeable staff, I think their prices make sense. Their website isn’t easy to navigate, so if you don’t know what you’re looking for in advance it can be tricky to browse.  If you can visit the store in person, you’ll develop a better sense of their inventory and know how to order online more easily.

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RISD 3D Store
The RISD 3D Store is like the love child of an art supply store and a hardware store.  They have a wonderful range of sculpture materials/tools/hardware supplies, and unlike hardware stores, the staff know that you are shopping there because you’re an artist. The best aspect of this store is that you can have materials custom cut for you.  You can custom order sheets of plexiglass, plywood, plastic, glass, etc., cut to any size you want, in any quantity. You can get large scale canvas frames built and stretched, and sculpture armatures constructed as well. This store is also the only place where I’ve been able to have untempered masonite custom cut. (tempered masonite is not good for artwork)

Amherst Potter’s Supply
I usually buy ceramic clay for creating sculptures from this local ceramic supplier in Hadley, MA. If you live in MA and order online, you can get your materials in 1-2 days.  If you’re in the NYC area Jack D. Wolfe is an excellent ceramic retailer.

Printmaking Supplies:

The selection of printmaking supplies available at most art supply stores is always terrible. These stores carry about 5% of what a professional printmaker needs. The printmaking supplies also tend to be crazy over priced at most general art supply stores . Once, I was desperate to buy some tarlatan, and I felt scandalized by how much I paid for a tiny scrap of tarlatan at Dick Blick.   If you’re serious about printmaking, you’ll have to order all of your supplies online.

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Metalliferous
When I was in graduate school in NYC, my printmaking professor suggested Metalliferous to buy copper plates for intaglio printmaking.  Not only were the copper plates well priced, but they had an amazing range of sizes and thicknesses of copper plates. I highly recommend visiting in person, this store is an extraordinary treasure of metal supplies.  Every nook and cranny in the store was densely packed with any metal supply you could imagine.

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Renaissance Graphic Arts
I personally haven’t ordered from this company before, but when I used to teach printmaking at a college in Boston, this is where the the printmaking department purchased all of their supplies.

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Graphic Chemical and Ink
This store is where I order the vast majority of my printmaking supplies, they pretty much have everything you need for printmaking. I happen to really like their etching ink, ever since I discovered their Renaissance Black Etching ink, I’ve been completely addicted.

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Tools for Working Wood
In graduate school, I created a series of large scale woodcut prints.  The woodcut tools that I purchased at the general art supply store were awful; the shape of the tools was awkward, and carving the wood with these tools was downright painful.  My printmaking professor recommended Ashley Iles carving tools that were available only at this store.  I loved visiting this store, it was one of those tiny hole in the wall stores in NYC, with a guy behind the counter who was quite a character. Unlike my old tools which were straight, the Ashley Iles tools were back bent, creating a much more comfortable position for your hand when carving.  The tools were incredibly sharp, and there seemed to be an endless variety of shapes and gouges. I felt like I went from carving wood to carving butter because of these tools. At $37 a tool, (I bought 6 tools) I felt financially traumatized, but the tools completely revolutionized my woodcut technique and were worth every penny.

Framing:

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The Picture Place
Some artists frame their artwork themselves to save money, but nothing compares with the quality of a professional custom framing job. Custom framing is expensive, but poor framing is always glaringly noticeable and can make your artwork look terrible. Finding a good framer is like finding a good car mechanic, you either need a good reference or you have to be really lucky. When I lived in Jamaica Plain in Boston, I chose a frame shop just because it was nearby. The framers there were really friendly and helpful, and that’s where I met the framer I who I work with exclusively now.  He eventually moved to the Picture Place in Brookline, MA, and he has framed all of my artwork for over 15 years.  I trust him to make excellent framing choices for me.

Photography supplies & services:

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B & H Photo Video
Generally speaking, I get all of my photography equipment from B&H.  They’re located in NYC, but they ship very quickly and usually I can get what I need within 1-2 days. The one caveat with this store is that they don’t process orders from Friday evenings to Saturday evenings, and they are closed on every Jewish holiday.

Color Services
This is a high end photography lab, they do printing for some of the most renowned visual artists in the Boston area. I have only used them once, to print photographs of my beeswax face sculptures. I was astounded by the range of options that were available in terms of paper choices, mounting, surfacing, etc. They are not cheap, but it is definitely worth it if you’re serious about getting high quality prints made.


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.