ART PROF Teaching Assistant: Yves-Olivier Mandereau

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Our ART PROF staff likes to laugh about our initial impressions of each other. Sometimes those first impressions were perfectly accurate, and other times they were totally off.  Yves-Olivier Mandereau, one of the ART PROF Teaching Assistants, was no exception to these extremes. I didn’t know this at the time, but Yves told me later that when he entered my freshman drawing class at RISD back in the fall of 2011, that he was terrified. The majority of his work prior to art school had been in three-dimensional media, and he felt at the time that he really didn’t know a thing about drawing.

Whereas many students would have allowed themselves to be paralyzed by their lack of experience, Yves quickly accepted his limited background in drawing. Despite being out of his element in a drawing class, Yves was extremely tenacious and willing to take on anything. Yves is one of the most determined students I’ve ever had in my classes, he had an iron will and drive that I rarely see in students at that stage in college.

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A group critique in my class from 2011. Yves is on the right,  in the default state of most RISD freshman. Annie Irwin, another ART PROF Teaching Assistant is on the right in the front.


In group critiques, Yves distinguished himself with his candid, honest comments which were articulate and straightforward.  When students enter art school, most of them have very little experience speaking during a group critique, and it can be highly intimidating to talk about your work in front of the entire class. Yves was critical to his class because he helped establish a level of seriousness in our discussions that fostered mutual respect and honesty among his peers.

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Yves’ very first homework drawing he did in my freshman drawing class in 2011


Later, Yves was a TA for my RISD Project Open Door class, and we reconnected again a month before he graduated in 2015. I visited his ceramics studio and was surprised to see him making figurative ceramic sculpture(see below)-nothing remotely like anything he was making when he was in my class. Having a background in figurative sculpture myself, it was so great to see how he eventually found his way towards that path.  The changes and progression over the course of art school are usually quite dramatic.  Five years ago, Yves came into his first art school critique in my class with a drawing of a seed pod. (above) Today, he’s doing an artist residency at Zentrum Fur Keramik in Berlin, Germany.

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“As a kid I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. I think I didn’t know because no one allowed me to consider a career in the arts. In middle school, I always had the most fun in art class, yet art was never really considered a legitimate pursuit like science and athletics.

I was first exposed to ceramics in an “Art 1” class, where I learned watercolor and acrylic painting. I was hooked but didn’t see any way to deepen my exploration. My art teachers let me stay and work during lunch, but I was essentially on my own. I worked on the pottery wheel but was just making lots of little cups because that’s what I knew how to make.

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The summer after my junior year in high school, I attended the Pre-College Program at RISD, a six-week summer art program for high school students. I saved up all the money I could from busing tables and working for a catering company. The program was beyond anything I could have imagined. The intensity and depth of the classes were addictive. When the program ended, I said to myself, “I don’t want this to end.” That’s when I knew I had to pursue visual art seriously.

Having experienced the value of a quality visual art education, I have committed myself to encouraging and helping others pursue their passion. That’s why I’m here, to help other students experience a broader art education independent of school systems where visual arts aren’t supported.”

Visit Yves’ website here. (mature content)

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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.

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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.

ART PROF: Visual Art Essentials with Clara Lieu

ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts.
Learn visual arts in a vibrant community for people of all ages.


Visual artist and RISD Adjunct Professor Clara Lieu has partnered with Thomas Lerra from WGBH Boston and a team of 6 Teaching Assistants and 10 Interns to create a free, online educational platform for the visual arts.

Clara Lieu, Visual Artist & Adjunct Professor at RISD    Thomas Lerra, WGBH Digital


Mission
In most schools, visual arts education is meager or simply does not exist.  Outside art programs are not affordable for most people, and are primarily isolated to higher education institutions.  ART PROF provides the chance for a global community to access to a high quality visual arts education for free.  People of all ages can learn visual arts at their own pace through ART PROF.


Now we need help from YOU to make ART PROF free for all.
Make a donation today !
We have many donor rewards, even the smallest donation makes a difference!

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Site Features
visual encyclopedia of art supplies • short-form video lessons in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture interactive video critiques • trusted advice from the Art Prof and Teaching Assistants  assignments & lesson plans • professional development resources • diverse artist community • audio critiques of user artwork   galleries for user artwork • contemporary art & art history

Preview of some of our site features by looking at our Crit Quickies, Audio Critique PacksPortfolio Video Critiques and Ask the Art Prof


Stay tuned by subscribing to our email list.

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Contact

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Teaching Assistants
square_Sara  square_Casey  square_Annie  square_Lauryn  square_yves  square_Alex
Sara BloemCasey Roonan  •  Annie Irwin
Lauryn Welch •  Yves-Olivier Mandereau  •  Alex Rowe

Our experienced team of teaching assistants are emerging artists who work in a diverse range of fields:  textiles, illustration, painting, drawing, comics, sculpture, installation, ceramics, and more. Teaching assistants will review user artwork submissions, do audio critiques of user artworks, and respond to your questions with professional advice in our interactive audio forums.

Interns
Anna   Makoto   Annelise   Enrico   Janice
Julia   crit_Vuthy   Olivia Hunter, Intern   Jordan McCracken-Foster, Intern   Tatiana Florival, Intern

Anna Campbell • Makoto KumasakaAnnelise YeeEnrico Giori • Janice Chun • Julia Orenstein • Vuthy LayOlivia Hunter
Jordan McCracken-Foster •  Tatiana Florival

Our interns are current art school students who brainstorm ideas, enhance site content, and develop outreach strategies. Their majors include architecture, printmaking, furniture design, jewelry, drawing, painting, graphic design and more.


ART PROF is a personal undertaking by Clara Lieu and Thomas Lerra that is not supported, sponsored, or endorsed by the Rhode Island School of Design or WGBH.

The Biggest, Scariest, Most Exciting Project I’ve Ever Worked on

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Throughout my life as a student, professor, and artist,  I’ve worked on numerous projects, all of which have challenged me in different ways. I’m always looking for new artistic initiatives that will build upon my prior experience, but that will get me to exercise new muscles and take on new risks that will stretch me to new places I didn’t even know existed.

My graduate thesis Digging was the first time I had considered creating an interdisciplinary project, where multiple bodies of work in contrasting media existed under the umbrella of one core concept. Wading was a project where I began to explore a new depth of emotion and atmosphere in my work  that I had previously avoided. Falling was by far my most ambitious project at that point: the sheer quantity of drawings, prints, and sculpture that I produced, combined with the deeply personal subject of my long history with depression, demanded an immense emotional and professional investment that I had never experienced before.

Clay Portrait Sculpture

My mystery project, which will be announced in a few weeks is a completely different beast than all of these prior projects.  I see this new project as a culmination of literally every single experience I have ever had in my entire life.  It encompasses the moment I was able to pick up a pencil and draw as a young child,  the rush of joy working in my elementary school art class, my anger and frustration as a high school student desperately to find a way to rigorously study visual arts, the euphoria of attending art school, teaching studio art at the elementary, high school, and college level, working as a gallery director, and finally, my ongoing studio practice as a professional artist over the past 16 years.

The tasks involved in this project could not be more diverse and different than what I’ve done in the past: I’ve sifted through archives of photos I shot 15 years ago, revisited wrinkled paper handouts given to me by my professors when I was a student, rummaged into the corners of closets to find tools and art supplies that have been hibernating for years, reconnected with former students, colleagues, and friends, and asking for help and favors from people I’ve never met before-and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Inevitably, everything I take on asks me to draw from my previous experience in some form, but this project is on an entirely new scale that for me is completely unprecedented. In general, I have a monstrous work ethic, and I’ve always been known for attacking my projects and teaching with a feral vigor that can be intimidating for some people. Relatively speaking, the intensity and amount of work I’ve invested into this project makes it appear as if I’ve been slacking off for the past 20 years.

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Sara BloemCasey Roonan  •  Annie Irwin •  Lauryn Welch
Yves-Olivier Mandereau  • Alex Rowe


Another major difference is that I’m not alone in this project.  I have an amazing partner who I feel so incredibly fortunate to have met, an outstanding team of 6 former students, (see above) and a group of 9 interns.  The extraordinary momentum that we’ve built together over the past year and a half has been tremendous.  In my rough moments of doubt and worry, my team has picked me up and pushed me forward with their unwavering support and zeal. They have brought a range of expertise, opinions, and perspectives that cannot exist in one person. I’ve never experienced anything like this before, and I feel constantly energized by everyone’s collective passion and dedication to this project.


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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.


 

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.

Last Thoughts of the Semester in RISD Illustration

Final Crit

I finished up final reviews with my sophomore Illustration majors in my “Drawing I: Visualizing Space” course at RISD today.  At the end of every semester, I ask my students to reflect upon their time in my class and do a written self-critique.  Although I’ve read hundreds of these self-critiques over the past several years, I always find them to be inspiring and enlightening.  Below are some excerpts from my students this semester.

“I have learned that ideas will come if you are patient.”

“Thumbnail sketches are very helpful and will save you hours of time.”

“Not every artwork is a success, and I do not need to attach myself so emotionally to every piece.”

“Ideas do not come from nowhere, they need time to grow.”

“The preparation of an artwork can make or break a work.”

“I have learned that I have to accept mistakes.”


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From a Former Student: “I Never Said Thank You”

Final Crit

The vast majority of the time, I love teaching and I savor my time in the classroom with my students. A student once wrote in my course evaluations that I was “born to teach.” I even enjoy nerdy tasks like writing student progress reports and making spreadsheets and assembling slideshows and course materials that a lot of other teachers find tedious. My students are endlessly fascinating and frequently entertaining.  The second I think I’ve seen it all, something will happen in my classroom that takes me by surprise. There is literally never a dull moment when you teach.

On the other hand, I have to admit that one of the toughest parts of teaching is that at times it can feel like a thankless job.  One of my former teachers told me that she viewed her students as leeches who latched on and sucked her blood all day long until she had nothing left.  I’m not sure it’s that dramatic for me, but the honest truth is that most of the time teachers give much more than they get back.

When I was a recent college graduate, one of my first jobs was teaching art at the Learning Project Elementary school.  One of the unique aspects of teaching grades 1-6 was that you always got immediate feedback from the students.  The kids told you exactly what they were thinking right in the moment.   If they thought the activity was boring, they would not hesitate to declare outright, “This is boring, I want to do something else.”  If they were having a blast, you would hear immediate comments like “This is SO FUN! I love drawing TREES!!”As the teacher, the students’ enthusiasm was infectious and energizing.  I found it incredibly satisfying to have instant, concrete validation that you were doing something right.

Final Crit

Teaching college is a totally different ball game.  College students wear poker faces most of the time, and the majority of them would rather die a thousand deaths before they let me know what they were really thinking.  I remember the very first college class I taught, I was mortified that I had done a terrible job with the class because the students barely said a word to me all semester.  (although looking back, that really was an exceptionally quiet class by comparison) So I was pleasantly surprised, when a student who hardly spoke a whole sentence the whole semester described my class as “her favorite art class ever,” in my course evaluation. The other extreme is I’ve also had students who were fine during class, but who lashed out at me with angry, aggressive emails explicitly describing how I directly caused them to develop mental illness and destroyed their lives.  Teaching college students can be a constant guessing game that you can’t ever win.

During my lectures and demonstrations, sometimes I look at my class and see a sea of dead pan, sleep deprived facial expressions, (I have concrete evidence, see the photo below) wondering if any shred of information I’m teaching is being retained.  Then a year later, I’ll run into a student and they’ll repeat back to me verbatim something I said to them during that class.  So I guess they are paying attention?

Final Crit

As a professor, there are so few moments when you know absolutely for sure, without a doubt that you’ve made a positive impact on a student. So that’s why when I received this lovely email below from a former student, it was a rare moment for me to hear a student be so honest, direct, and reflective of her experience in my class. These are the gems I get from my students once in a while, that tell me that yes, my students are indeed listening.

“I just want you to know how much of an impression you made on me in your drawing class.  I’ve been taking art in school since sixth grade. I’m fortunate that I go to a school where art is taken seriously, and the curriculum is really great. I’ve done other summer programs with plenty of one-on-one time with art teachers who took the time to sit down with me and teach me techniques I was curious about. Despite all of that though, I think that you’ve had more influence on my art and my attitude towards art than any other teacher.

For the first few weeks, I’ll admit your critiques terrified me a little. I wasn’t used to hearing anything truly and purely constructive about my work. Critiques before then were always fluffed up with compliments and apologies. But your critiques were straight to the point, and I appreciate that more than I can say. Not only did it make me a better artist at the time, but it also made me able to grow more as an artist in the long run.

I remember during the critique for our chiaroscuro self-portrait drawings, you said that I managed to take my drawing to a level beyond that of “just a homework assignment.” I’m not sure why that’s the thing that stuck in my mind, but I felt so ridiculously proud when you said that. I think it was just the past several weeks of instruction finally coming together to allow me to make a work of art that I was really proud of. I poured everything into that drawing, and I had so much fun with it (even as I was crouched under my bed with an aching back for 10 hours), and for you to recognize that meant so much to me.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of the impostor syndrome, but it’s a term for people who feel that they don’t deserve their accomplishments -that whatever they’ve achieved is due to luck, timing, or deceit, rather than their own hard work. I feel that way so often.  When people compliment my art, some part of me thinks that I don’t deserve the praise I get. I just don’t feel like a “real” artist, and the fact that some people view me as such irks me for some reason. Looking back at the work I created in your class, though, I can almost shake that feeling, especially with the one self-portrait I talked about above.

To this day, that self-portrait is still one of my favorite pieces that I’ve created. I attribute that to the fact that in your class I felt like I was actually learning, and making visible and tangible progress, whereas so many of my other art projects in school until that point felt like they weren’t truly mine. Up until that point, art in school felt like no more than following an instruction manual-that’s how specific our assignments were. It was hard to take ownership of my art when I was just copying down step after step that my art teachers gave me. On the chance that I was given freedom to create something original, I didn’t even know what to do with it. In your class though, I learned to take ownership of my art.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about myself as an artist, and I realized how much of my confidence and ability came from your instruction. I don’t think I ever thanked you personally for the impact you made on me, maybe because I didn’t even know it then. Thank you so much.”


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 do I become a teaching assistant?”
“How can I make the transition to teaching art at the college level?”
“Can a math teacher become an art teacher?”


Video Critique Program
I offer 30 minute video critiques on 8-20 artworks for aspiring/professional artists working on a body of artwork, and for students working on an art portfolio for college admission. Watch sample video critiques and get more info here.

An Email that Could Have Been Written by My 16 Year Old Self

Gesture Drawings in Ink

I get emails daily from my blog readers on a diverse range of topics. Everything from questions about what drawing supplies to buy, advice on MFA programs, and concerns about careers in the visual arts.  You name it, I’ve gotten an email about it.

Once in a while, I get an email that is much more than questions.  I recently received an email that I found to be particularly poignant and moving.  I was riveted by this email because I felt that it could have been written by my 16 year old self.   While I admit that my memories of trying to study visual arts in high school still make me boil,  it’s very rewarding to hear that I am filling that same void I experienced 20 years ago for someone today. I always say that no matter how difficult a class I teach is, if I can just reach one person, then that makes it all worth it.   I’m delighted to know that I’d a meaningful impact on one of you in this way.

Here’s the email I received:

“Firstly, I would like to thank you for your blog. It has given me great insight and joy to read about your perspective on art school, teaching, and being a practicing visual artist. Your blog has also given me amazing tips that have helped me build my portfolio. I feel I owe a great deal of my confidence in my work to your writing, so thank you so much.

Secondly, I would like to share my experience in high school art classes. I am much like you described yourself in your blog post. I am withdrawn, shy, and lack confidence. Although I have always excelled in academics, I always have felt like I don’t belong in my school. Since I was little, I could not stop thinking of things to make. I loved every art class I took; I would finish a project and beg to know what the next one would be in order to think of what to make.

As I started my freshman year in high school, I saw that most people thought of artistic people as outsiders, so I felt I shouldn’t do anything artistic anymore. Although I felt I left part of myself behind, I hoped that it might lead to friends or to popularity, but it obviously was not the case. As sophomore year began, I met my Art I and AP Art History teacher. She was a wacky painter that would push you both academically and creatively to the extremes. Because of her, I rediscovered my passion for art and fell in love with the history and study of art. I have been enrolled in her class since junior year, and it has been my escape from everything that makes me anxious or sad.

This summer, I attended the RISD Pre-College program and was inspired by my peers to push my technique and pursue ideas that are outside of the norm. I thank two of my favourite teachers there for believing in my vision, but more importantly, teaching me how to believe in it myself. I have seen a resurrection in my creative process.

 I think the greatest problem in my school is ignominy that comes with being an artist. Because it is a private school in a country outside of the US, most student’s parents are politicians, economists, etc. so creative fields are completely alien to them. I see people every day that are amazingly creative and tremendously talented, but they say that they could never dedicate themselves to a creative field because they want to “have their lives matter.” I find this not only deeply troubling, but also the reason why schools all over the world don’t emphasize the arts so much; because the students don’t take advantage of creative opportunities.

At the high school level, I think an individual’s responsibility is to find what they love and explore it to the best of their abilities, but the reason why people that could be artists don’t pursue it is that the school system does not push the arts. A school should give students the opportunity to study their artistic passions and should promote the development of visual language throughout the curriculum, not only isolated art classes.”


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.  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.


Video Critique Program
I offer 30 minute video critiques on 8-20 artworks for aspiring/professional artists working on a body of artwork, and for students working on an art portfolio for college admission. Watch sample video critiques and get more info here.