“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.

Advertisements

“Should We Protect Arts Education?” in Education Week

IMG_7100

by Clara Lieu

I recently wrote a guest blog post for the Leadership 360 blog in Education Week titled “Should We Protect Art Education?” Thanks to Jill Berkowicz, and Ann Myers for inviting me!

The article talks about my work with students in the RISD undergraduate program and RISD Project Open Door.  Working in such contrasting programs (one a degree program, one a free community outreach program) has led me to believe that the vast majority of the time, art education is a simple matter of access.  In my opinion, it shouldn’t be that way, which is why Art Prof is an important initiative towards equalizing access to high quality arts education.


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 T-Shirts!

sand

Get our official T-shirt, featuring a charming design by Art Prof Intern Janice Chun! The T-shirt is 6.1 oz., made of pre-shrunk 100% cotton, has a double-needle stitched neckline, bottom hem and sleeves. Sizes available are S, M, L, XL, XXL. We chose “sand” as the T-shirt color because we are big art nerds and this color reminded us all of newsprint.

Pledge $10: 1 T-shirt
Pledge $30: 3 T-shirts

Estimated delivery: Sept. 2016. Ships only to United States

T-shirt_sand

You can even read about our design process and the T-shirt contest we ran!

One of the advantages when your staff is all art students and emerging artists is that when you want to offer a new T-shirt reward for your Kickstarter campaign, you’ve got tons of in house talent.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

17 T-shirt design sketches from the ART PROF staff

The guidelines were that the design had to be black and white, and had to include the text “Art Prof” somewhere in the design. So five of our staff worked on the sketches you see above and we voted internally to select 4 finalists.  We didn’t do a full out critique on each design, but we definitely discussed a few concerns about legibility of the text, or awkward associations in some of the designs.


Here were our 3 finalists!

1st and 3rd designs below are by Intern  Janice Chun, 2nd design is by Teaching Assistant Casey Roonan.

03

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset02

Snippets from our staff discussion of the designs:

“It’s hard to choose, because I like so many of the designs as drawings but realistically, I would only wear maybe two of them on a T-shirt.”

“I’m having issues with the gloop flying off the back of Prof Lieu’s head-it reminds me of wax, or blood.”

“I like the design with the paint tube, but I don’t get why the paint tube is cut in half.”

“The paint tube cut in half makes me think of a piece of sliced meat-not exactly the best association to have!”

“Some design have interesting lettering but they aren’t easy to read.”


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.

Portfolio Review Event at Concord Art

RISD Adjunct Professor Clara Lieu reviews drawings by Janet Schwartz


This past Sunday, half of the ART PROF team hosted our first free portfolio review event at the Concord Center for Visual Arts in Concord, MA.  We invited artists in the Boston area to sign up for several 15 minute long individual reviews with myself, ART PROF Teaching Assistants Lauryn Welch, Casey Roonan, and Sara Bloem.  My colleagues Wendy Seller and Cynthia Katz were reviewers as well.  The event lasted four hours, so this gave artists the opportunity to get up to 6 reviews from multiple reviewers.  Unless you’re enrolled in a degree program, the opportunity to get feedback on your artwork from several professional artists and professors in one day for free is extremely rare.

IMG_5210

Art Prof Teaching Assistant Lauryn Welch speaks to artist Steven Foote about his paintings.


In my career, I’ve been to several portfolio review events, both as an artist and as a reviewer. One aspect I like about this format is that you get individualized attention from a single reviewer, and the room is generally busy enough that no one feels that they are on the spot. We were very pleased with the atmosphere!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


We were impressed by the range of artists who came to our event:  we saw large oil paintings, watercolor paintings, pastel drawings, scratch board drawings, perspective drawings, and much more.


We were all pretty wiped out after critiquing for pretty much 4 hours straight, but we were all thrilled with the event.  We did registration online, and the day of the event we still had 40% of our slots open.  Many people added extra slots the day of the event, which was terrific because those additional slots filled our schedules.  The event was busy, and seemed to keep moving the whole time.

We also had a terrific team of assistants:  Britt Sodersjerna, Alex Fyock, Jack Carbeck, and Olivia Hunter who did everything from shoot photos and video of the event, helping participants find their schedules, and giving us feedback on how we could improve similar events in the future.  Speaking of future events, we are planning two more similar events in mid July in Boston!  If you’d like to be notified of these events, sign up for our email list.

IMG_5181

Art Prof Teaching Assistant Casey Roonan discusses Monika Hedman’s scratchboard pieces. Monika had a series of 12 scratch board drawings, which incorporated mixed media as well.  We were hugely impressed by Monika’s composition skills, a skill that is frequently overlooked or simply not addressed by many artists. She had an enormous range of media in her portfolio:  paintings, drawings, mixed media pieces, and a sketchbook packed with images and writing.

Many participants were glowing with a renewed enthusiasm and motivation for their work.  We heard some terrific comments both during and after the event through emails.

“You and your team were amazing! I feel blessed to have been part of this day.”
“I found our portfolio review very helpful in fine-tuning the direction with my work.”
“Both portfolio reviewers my husband and I talked to were encouraging and helpful.”

IMG_5606

RISD Adjunct Professor Clara Lieu reviews paintings and drawings by Jennifer Behymer.


Afterwards, our team went out for an early dinner, amazed that this was the first time since ART PROF started in 2014 that we had all been together in person.  For many of us, it have been many years since we had seen each other, even though we communicate almost everyday online to work on ART PROF.  I think this event was important for our team not just in terms of the event, but in terms of finally getting to see each other in person. While we discuss online nitty gritty details like what color the top menu bar in the prototype should be, together in person, we were able to have deeper discussions and talk about the big picture of ART PROF.

I’ve worked with many groups of people in the past, and I have to say this truly is an extraordinary team of people who I not only love working with, but who are super fun. There was plenty of teasing, and reminiscing about the good old days in my freshman drawing class over 6 years ago.  And yes,  I realize that I’m probably extremely biased because I’m the one who assembled this team, but I’m constantly in awe of how we balance brutal honesty and flexibility at the same time.  I love that we are able to have intense, emotional discussions about being artists, but that we can also tease each other mercilessly about the silliest things like the Bachlorette. (sorry, inside joke!)

This team has gone above and beyond my wildest expectations when I first started ART PROF two years ago.  I’m still in disbelief that Sara, Lauryn, and Casey were crazy enough to say yes to that email I sent them over a year ago.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We missed the rest of our team, Annie Irwin, Yves-Olivier Mandereauves-Olivier Mandereau, and Alex Rowe, who live as far away as California, Colorado, and Germany.   We hope some day, all of us can be in one place, and that we can devote all of our time towards bringing you a rigorous art education for free, all the time.


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.

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation From Your Professor

Gesture Drawing

College admissions season has already started with early decision application deadlines coming up next month.  I’m already getting my first flood of requests for letters of recommendation from students.  On average, I write about 20 letters of recommendation a year. That may not sound like that many letters to write, but I devote a lot of time to each letter so that I can best articulate each student’s unique strengths to support their application. I can imagine from the Admissions office perspective,  many letters of recommendation probably all start to sound the same after a while, so I work hard to make my letters distinctive.

Because I get so many requests, I require my students to follow specific guidelines in order to get a letter from me. I’m sure each professor has their own requirements, so check with each of your professors and see what they require. Here are my policies:

1) Achieve a certain grade or higher in my course.
When I write a letter of recommendation, I have to feel that I can enthusiastically rant and rave about how incredible the student is, in terms of both their character and academic accomplishments. I won’t say here exactly which grade is the cut off point, but it’s pretty high up there.

2) Ask politely and don’t make assumptions. 
You might think this is obvious, but you’d be surprised how many students are not polite when asking for a letter. It’s important to know what’s good practice when asking, because this is definitely a process you’ll have to do repeatedly throughout your career.

I’ve had students email me, stating that they listed me as a reference on a job application without ever asking my permission. That alone is presumptuous enough that I will tell the student to remove me from their reference list. One student asked for a letter and in the same email, told me that they had already sent the school my email and that I should be expecting an email where I could upload my letter. I had a student who asked me to write them a letter for a grant application that didn’t exist yet, and then continued to pester me about it even after I said no twice. It got to the point where I had to tell them, point blank, that I wouldn’t write letters for them in the future. Ask politely, and wait to hear my response before you do anything.

3) Provide 2-3 months advance notice of your earliest deadline. Even if the student got an A in my course, if they ask 2 weeks before their deadline, I won’t write the letter. My schedule is so densely packed that I simply can’t take on last minute requests. I am sure that this is also the case for all other professors.

4) Correspond with me promptly throughout the process.
Asking for a letter is just the beginning of a mutual effort between myself and the student. Don’t disappear after I’ve agreed to write the letter, you have to be involved every step of the way. There are so many little details that have to be followed up on, and when students don’t provide information I need promptly it makes everything unnecessarily complicated.

5) Say thank you. 
This is a mandatory habit to establish for the future. I’m appalled at how few people do this, especially when it’s so easy to do, and takes so little time.  I’ve had several instances where students emailed me asking for help with something, I took the time to write them a lengthy email with advice, and then never heard from them again. I guess they got what they needed from me, but I find it rude to not even reply with a quick “thank you.”  It bothers me enough that I have a list in my head of who didn’t say “thank you.” Sometimes that’s the difference between whether I recommend someone for a job or not. A few weeks ago, I got an email from a lawyer I had never met in person before, thanking me for referring one of my students to them.  That email made a difference; that lawyer is now cemented in my head as someone who is polite and professional.

Gesture Painting

Writing letters of recommendation are part and parcel of being a teacher, and I am always happy to help my students however I can. Plus, when you have phenomenal students, the letters practically write themselves. If you’re a student, be prepared to put in effort on your end, I can guarantee that your professors will appreciate it!


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: How do I Become a Teaching Assistant at an Art School?

Tone project

“I am an undergraduate student in art school, and I’m interested in being a teaching assistant. How do I become a TA and what is involved?”

Many students are often times confused about how to get a TA position, since every professor has their own process for selecting their TAs. My recommendation is to always take the initiative to contact the professor at least one semester in advance to express your desire for a position. I keep a list in my head of potential TAs, but I always give first priority to students who have directly communicated their interest to me. When I was a student, it never even occurred to me to ask for a position, which I now regret. Don’t wait to be chosen. Instead, take matters into your own hands and inquire early.

From the point of view of a professor, choosing your TAs is actually not as easy as it might seem. Over the years, I’ve gotten much better at anticipating which students will be a good fit. At the beginning of my teaching career, I mistakenly made the assumption that the top students would automatically be good TAs. I once had a TA who was an extraordinary student, but who later became a big headache for me. He was uncomfortable with his new role as an authority figure which caused him to freeze up during group critiques. He set a bad example for the students by coming to class late. After all, if the TA doesn’t come to class on time, why should the students? His presence became detrimental to the class, and I found myself having to manage his issues on top of everything else.

Since that experience, I’ve learned to be very picky about which students I choose to work with. I think carefully about how they conducted themselves as a student in my class. Most students don’t think about this at the time, but being a student in my class is basically the audition to be a TA. I look for these attributes when considering potential TAs: 1) genuine care and concern for other students, 2) lively social skills, 3) active participation in group critiques, 4) reliability and consistency, 5) a sense of humor, and 6) a willingness to go beyond the minimum requirements.

2014-05-01-8724696964_f40b98093a_b.jpg

This selection process has resulted in the opportunity to work with many incredible TAs over the course of my teaching career. When I start becoming the absentminded professor, my TAs remind me of critical details and keep me on track. I see them as indispensable to the course, and I can’t imagine teaching without them. My best TAs had these qualities:

1) Has infectious enthusiasm. Make your energy contagious amongst the students. You have a responsibility to be the official cheerleader for the class.

2) Is outgoing and socializes with the students. When there is a break, go get yourself a cup of coffee, but then return to the classroom and engage in casual conversation with the students. Check in with them and ask how things are going. Students are usually very eager to dish to the TA in a way that they are not with the professor.

3) Reads the professor’s mind. I’m only half-joking here. I’m astounded by the way my TAs are able to anticipate what’s coming up next, and how they take concrete actions to help prepare.

4) Makes him/herself available. Several of my TAs have been extremely generous, going well beyond the call of duty. They give their contact information to the class, and encourage the students to get in touch outside of class time with any concerns. Occasionally, my TAs have even come into the studio the night before an assignment is due to provide in-person critiques. Several students came to rely on this additional support system during the semester, and to this day I still get comments from former students about how important these meetings were to them.

5) Alerts the professor to student concerns. Especially at the beginning of the semester, many students are more comfortable expressing their concerns to the TA. Last semester, a student came to the TA because he was feeling really discouraged. The student felt like the other students were ganging up on him during group critiques. This was an important issue that I might not have observed on my own, and knowing this enabled me to help remedy the situation more quickly.

Working as a TA can be a highly enriching and rewarding experience. By collaborating with the professor and students, you learn to cultivate vital relationships and gain essential perspective. Down the road, these are fundamental skills which can then be applied to a career in any field.


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.


Related articles
“How do I become an undergraduate art professor?
“What should I be working on now if I would like to be an art professor?”
“What makes a student artist stand out from their peers?”
“How did you become an art professor?”
“How can I make the transition to teaching art at the college level?”

“Ask the Art Prof” Article Archive

Final Crit

It’s now been one year since I started “Ask the Art Prof”, my advice column for visual artists. Below is an archive of articles I’ve written in the past year.

On college portfolio preparation:
“What are common mistakes in college portfolio submissions?”
“What should you include in an art portfolio for art school or college?”

On art school and degrees:
“What is the purpose of a degree in fine art?”
“How do you preserve your artistic integrity within the strict time limitations in an academic setting?”
“Is art education really so popular in western countries?”
“Should art students study abroad even if it distracts from job preparation?”
“Who should you make art for, yourself or your professor?
“7 tips for surviving art school.”
“How can I prepare myself for the reality of the future?”
“To what extent do grades define an academic career in visual art?”
“Should I drop out of art school?”

On graduate school:
“Is graduate school worth it?”
“How are European MFA degrees viewed in the United States?”
“How do I choose a field for graduate school?”

On life after school:
“What do you do after you’ve finished formalized training?”
“When you have a fine arts degree, what do you do for the rest of your life?”
What is your advice to young students who have just graduated from their undergraduate degree?”
“How do you stay motivated after school?”

On technique and skills:
“How can I tell if I’m skilled enough?”
“How do you find your own individual style?”
“How do artists manage to get their soul out into images?”
“How do you develop an idea from a sketch to a finished work?”
“How do you make an art piece more rich with details that will catch the eye?”
“How do you learn the basics?”
“Is it bad to start another piece of art before finishing another one?”
“How do you work in a series?”
“When and how should you use photo references to draw?”
“How do you know when to stop working?”

On abstraction:
“How can I approach creating abstract art?”
“Does an abstract artist need to be proficient in traditional techniques?”

On painting & color:
“How do you achieve a luminous effect in a painting through color and value?”
“Does painting what you see limit your artistic possibilities?”
“What is the practical meaning of color theory?”
“How do you compose a striking painting with color?”
“Is hard work and experimenting continuously such a bad thing?”

On drawing:
“What is a gesture drawing?”
“Is drawing considered an innate talent or a craft, which can be learned by anyone?”
“How can I learn to shade objects in my drawings?”
“How can I draw what I see in my head?”
“What is the best way to practice my drawing skills?”
“How do you get yourself to practice drawing?”
“What is the most important mindset a student needs to have in order to create a successful drawing?”

On drawing the human figure:
“How would I go about studying the human figure?”
“How do you draw the human face?”
“How can I learn to draw noses?”
“What is the best way to simplify the human figure?”
“How can you learn to draw hair?”

On careers:
“How do I change careers to pursue my passion for art?”
“What are the career opportunities in fine art?”
“How long did it take you to jump start your career after graduation?  What was your first job?”

On Promotion:
“How do you know when your artwork is good enough to show to the world?”
“How do you get people to notice your artwork online?”
“When is it too early to start promoting your work on the Internet?”
“How do you retain the integrity of your artwork while promoting it?”
“How do you get to the top of the art world?”
“How can I get into art exhibitions?”

On illustration:
“How do I become a children’s book illustrator?”
“Can I make a respectable income on freelance illustration?”
“Where is a good place to start with graphic novels?”
“What does it take to get a job at an animation studio?”

On galleries & museums:
“How do I leave my gallery?”
“How do you sell your art?”
“How do I approach a gallery?”
“How do museums select artists to exhibit? What is museum quality work?”
“How do I know I’m ready to start selling and approaching galleries?”

On doubt:
“Am I actually an artist?”
“How can one regain lost satisfaction with their work?”
“How do you gain confidence in your artwork?”
“Do professional artists doubt their abilities?”

On learning:
“Where do I start?”
“How do you keep pushing yourself to get to that next level?”
“Would you improve more if you took art classes than just studying on your own?”
“How do you learn the basics?”
“How do you break out of your comfort zone?”
“How do you get out of thinking you can’t get any better?”
“How do you develop patience for learning curves?”
“When do you let go of an idea?”
“How do I help my daughter reach her potential in art?”

On teaching:
“How do I become an undergraduate art professor?
“What should I be working on now if I would like to be an art professor?”
“What makes a student artist stand out from their peers?”
“How did you become an art professor?”

On life:
“How much of your emotional life do you allow to infiltrate your work?”
“How do you face artistic burnout?”
“How do you come up with ideas?”

On practical matters:
“What do you do for art storage?”
“How can an artist balance their life?”
“How can an artist overcome their financial issues?”
“How can an artist create an artistic group outside of school?”
“How do you balance a full-time job, kids and your own art?”
“How do you socialize in the art world?”

Other:
“What is the most important thing you can do as an artist?
“Does being an artist require much more thinking than in other academic fields?”
“What is the difference between fine arts and visual arts?”
“Will negative stereotypes about artists ever go away?”
“Is photography art?”
“What would you be looking for if you were judging for an art scholarship?”


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.