The Future of Artprof.org


Since launching Artprof.org, it’s been thrilling for me to watch our creative community grow. When I’m having a crummy day, I re-read viewer testimonials, which always gives me a lift. Here’s one that made me laugh out loud: “I’ve replaced Netflix with Art Prof Instagram Live videos.”  Now that’s a compliment!

In our staff group, we have many lists.  One list stands out: my queue of 34 videos that have been sitting on my server for weeks, some even for months. Why?  We don’t have the funding to hire a sound designer to do the sound mixes. (that’s not even counting the hundreds of hours of footage that have been shot, but not edited!)

With the exception of 2 interns this summer, I have done all of the editing since we started.  Not because I knew anything about editing, but because if I didn’t do it, no one else would. (only took me a year to learn Premiere!)

After being on sabbatical, I’m returning to teach at RISD in September. With my teaching schedule, I know that I won’t be able to keep my prior production schedule. The only solution is to hire editors and sound designers.

If everyone on this email list donated $5 a month, we could easily pay our TAs, editors, sound designers, a web developer, and cover critical expenses. Beyond that, we can show you what we are REALLY capable of!!!

One fundamental premise of our mission was for Artprof.org to be 100% free. I really, really don’t want to have to set up a paywall, but we’re at a point where we may have to. I literally have 20 years of content stuck in my head that I want to share with you! I care deeply about this artistic family and I want so much for us to keep thriving.

Clara


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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New Tutorial Set: “Small Sparks”

Clara-Alex-Casey

Last weekend Art Prof TAs Lauryn Welch, Alex Rowe, Deepti Menon, and Casey Roonan came to my house for a 5 days of shooting. Our retreats are really intense, require serious concentration 24-7, are exhausting, but they are also a total blast.  All of us live in different places, so we really only get together a few times a year to shoot our video content. What’s been really exciting is that with every retreat, we’ve become noticeably more efficient with our time, and our work flow is much faster than before. It’s wonderful to see our team settling into a stable familiarity in the process that wasn’t there when we first got started.

Lauryn-Alex

It’s still incredible to me how much we managed to pack into 5 days.  Deepti shot a tutorial about how to create an animation piece using an eggplant, Alex did a tutorial on ink wash drawing which involved American colonial history and an on site visit to a farm to hang out with sheep, Lauryn showed us how to mix coffee grounds into acrylic paint to make a painting inspired by BBQ squid, and Casey showed us all kinds of ink technique that involved roadkill and toilet paper.

Lauryn

While we still want to include the basics on Artprof.org, we’re really excited about these quirkier tutorials that are a new hybrid of artist documentary and tutorial.  In our research, the video content out there is either exclusively a documentary (such as the PBS series art21) or a purely technical tutorial.  The idea of combining both documentary and tutorial in one is really exciting, as you’ll get the change to understand the initial inspiration for our work, but also have the opportunity to see every step of the process explained, using ordinary materials that are accessible and can be done in your own home.

We see Art Prof as a platform that is constantly growing, even since our site launch this past February so much of our mindset has changed. Ideas for new content formats keep coming up, which is exciting, but also frustrating at the same time.  With our extremely limited post-production staff (me, and Alex Hart occasionally) we just don’t have the man power to produce video content as quickly as we want to. We desperately need a sound designer, but without sustained funding that isn’t an option for us right now. (please consider a monthly donation to our Patreon!)

Clara

Now that Art Prof has been around for 3 years, we felt it was a good time to create a short “Making of Art Prof” documentary for people to see what happens behind the scenes.  Even thought our content is of professional quality, I’m not sure people realize how DIY Art Prof really is!  We shoot in a room right next to my kitchen, we scrape together whatever art supplies we own, we cook meals together, and make do with situations that are less than convenient. (I’m too cheap to buy comforters for everyone, so all the TAs have to bring their own comforter when they stay here)

Naturally, our retreat wouldn’t be half as fun without our guinea pigs, Bubba and Fluffy, who are now the official Art Prof mascots!

Deepti

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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A New Type of Tutorial: “Course Trios”


One aspect of Art Prof that we are trying to push is diversity of artistic approaches and media.  When I was a student in art school, I remember feeling like my head was exploding with excitement when I arrived on campus and was discovering so many new art materials. I found it to be an incredibly enriching experience to approach the same subject with different media.  I did portraits in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture techniques throughout my four years in art school. Every media I experienced revealed something new about the human face that could only be experienced with that specific media.

IMG_9599_self-portrait_Casey_on-set

That’s why I’m thrilled that we’re bringing that diversity of materials to Art Prof with our Course Trios, beginning with our Self-Portrait from Life course.

The idea is different than the linear tutorials I’ve seen online:  My tutorial provides the fundamentals  & premise of the subject.  In the case of the Self-Portrait course,  how to set up a mirror, light your face, basics in the structure of the skull, and thumbnail sketches.  From there, the course branches out into 3 different paths:  1) a self-portrait in crayon by myself, 2) a self-portrait in charcoal by TA Casey Roonan, and 4) a self-portrait in animation by TA Deepti Menon.


Watching Casey do his charcoal drawing tutorial from behind the camera, I found myself seeing the concept of the self-portrait with new eyes. In the video above, Casey talks about how as a cartoonist, he has a cartoon version of himself in his head that he can draw “thoughtlessly.”  He talks about how cartoonists are often accused of just drawing themselves, citing Jack Kirby’s  Incredible Hulk as essentially a self-portrait of Kirby himself. As a fine artist, all of this was totally new to me, and I found it endlessly absorbing to listen to.

I told Casey afterwards that my “basics” tutorial on drawing a self-portrait from life felt so generic compared to his!  However, we agreed as a staff that having one tutorial provide the core basics was critical to the other two tutorials making sense.  Hope all of you have as much fun learning these diverse approaches as I do!  If you want to receive email notifications when a new course is released, you can sign up here.

IMG_9593_self-portrait_Casey_on-set

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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“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.

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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.

Your Questions, Answered on Artprof.org!

One aspect of artprof.org that I am very excited about is the fact that we have a team of diverse Teaching Assistants on staff!  While I have expertise in a number of fields in visual arts, nothing substitutes having a team of artists who bring contrasting voices to the table. I like the fact that as a staff of teaching artists, we don’t always agree in our conversations, especially when we do critiques on the site and have discussions on different topics.

Visual arts is such an open field where the possibilities are infinite.  On one hand this is wonderful, but studying visual arts can also be overwhelming when you are trying to find your own path.  I know that when I was in art school, one approach that really helped me immensely was to hear different opinions on the same subject.  I learned drawing from 8 different professors, each of whom had their own take on the subject.  You won’t agree with every point of view or opinion, but that process of exposing yourself to everything that is out there is critical towards forming your own identity as an artist.  That’s what artprof.org can provide, that I could never provide before.

comments

Those of you who want professional, trusted advice about being an artist, register for FREE on artprof.org and you can comment and ask your questions anywhere on the site!  I often times get the same question over and over again, and now we finally have a public forum where we can all benefit from different answers from the Art Prof staff.

Register here!  You get to create your own Artist Profile when you register, marking your interests in visual arts.  From there, our site will create a personal track for you, which will provide recommendations to pages on the site according to your personal preferences. personal-track.png


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.

March Art Dare!

Get info on the March Art Dare!

Subscribe to the Art Dares email list and be notified each month

subscribe


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.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

Artprof.org is here!!

by Clara Lieu

We are pleased to announce that artprof.org is now LIVE!!!  After all the blood, sweat and tears of the past 3 years I am in complete disbelief that we actually made it this far.  What started as a 1 paragraph blog post is now a full fledged, online educational platform for visual arts.

Thank you to our Kickstarter supporters, to the artists who granted us permission to feature their artwork, to the professionals who were willing to give a complete stranger advice on how to get started 3 years ago, to those of you who trudged through a snowstorm so I could film footage, to the artists who participated in our monthly Art Dares, to the many artists and teachers who did many rounds of usability testing on the site, to the art teachers on Facebook who I have never met but who were more than happy to help in so many ways, to the artists who allowed us to critique their artwork, to our followers who have watched us grow, to my family, friends, and colleagues who provided unwavering support and advice, to all of you who BELIEVED in Art Prof early on, cheered us on with your enthusiasm, and many more.

My brain is complete mush from working around the clock for the past few weeks, so I am sure there are other groups of people who helped who I am missing, but please know that I so deeply appreciate every shred of support mattered, every single contribution made a difference.  Launching a major platform like this is no small feat, and it’s one that truly takes a village.  Art Prof would never have happened without you!

RISD Pre-College, Clara Lieu, RISD Adjunct Professor

Thank you to my 2 groups of pre-college students, who provided ongoing, essential feedback on the project and website, who made me feel old and out of date, who explained to me how to use Snapchat, told me the secrets of using Instagram, who boosted me with their constant enthusiasm and energy, to the point that they would jump on board for tasks that hadn’t even been announced yet.  (that’s when I tacked on running through the hallways of their high school naked to their task list.  Hey, they asked for it!)

ART PROF Interns

Thank you to our summer 2016 interns, who put up with my meandering, spontaneous, random ideas, and who were willing to experiment and do (and come up with) odd tasks like run through sprinklers, swing from trees, jump into a lake with “Art Prof” written on their bare back, bake a cake with my face on it, construct a cardboard head of me that is traumatizing my children as it sits in my living room, design the most entertaining Prof fan art I’ve ever seen, and much more. Thank you to Janice Chun and Olivia Hunter, who provided indispensable support from in production assistance, video editing, designing, and much more.


There are no words to express my immense gratitude to our extraordinary Teaching Assistants: Casey Roonan, Lauryn Welch, Yves-Olivier Mandereau, Annie Irwin, Deepti Menon, and Alex Rowe, who had no idea what they were getting into when they said “yes” to an ambiguous email I sent to them way back in 2015. Their outstanding tenacity, perseverance, endless energy, enthusiasm was absolutely critical to the creation of Art Prof. I am the luckiest person in the world to have a dream team like this as my staff, and I am forever grateful to them for their unconditional faith in Art Prof. They were the part of the primordial soup of Art Prof, and were nuts enough to jump off the biggest cliff I’ve ever climbed with me.  Thank you TAs, Art Prof would not be here without you. I am not someone who cries at movies, but thinking about you, TAs, and what you have accomplished, I’m getting choked up.

Cheers to my amazing partner Thomas Lerra, for believing in my vision way back in March 2015, when a random art professor who pushed their way through 4 degrees of separation that took 4 months, to worm their way into your path. For your fundamental belief in our mission, and sticking with me, even in the most trying situations.  Tom walked the plank for Art Prof in a way that most people wouldn’t even dare think of. He was my rock, keeping a level head through thick and thin, through every challenge when we were blocked by numerous obstacles, and banging our heads against the wall with frustration. I’m still astounded that I found Tom, it’s very rare that you find someone who is willing to invest so much into an artist’s vision.

Clara Lieu, Thomas Lerra, and Alex Hart on the Art Prof set

Lastly, the person who really, truly made Art Prof happen is my husband Alex Hart. Without Alex, there would literally be no Art Prof.  Let’s put it this way:  if Alex sent me an invoice for the colossal numbers of hours he willingly put into Art Prof over the past 3 years, I’m sure it would be at least 7 figures.  (this is not counting a bill for emotional support and daily therapy) It’s one thing to have a vision and mission, it’s another thing to actually make it happen and turn it into a tangible product, and Alex was the one who facilitated the execution of Art Prof. His comprehensive skills in video, sound, graphic design, and much more were what made Art Prof into a concrete, usable platform.

Alex was literally always there, behind the scenes doing all of the invisible technical work that most people never saw, or were even aware of. He did every conceivable task: everything from the most mundane to the most technically challenging.  He made coffee for the TAs when they stayed at my house for filming, researched every single piece of equipment we purchased, gave me tutorials on how to properly use tripods and equipment, dealt with multiple panicked phone calls from me in the middle of the work day, spent many long, tedious hours glued to headphones and a computer doing the sound mixes, cared for our kids on more weekends than I can count, put up with me when I was super grouchy and sleep deprived, and much more.  All of that, with no complaints. (well, okay 99% of the time) Most importantly, through all of that, Alex kept telling me that he believed in me.

Thank you everyone, I am so grateful to all of you for making my dream come true!!

Clara Lieu & Alex Hart on set


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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