The Big Fat Artist Video Challenge

In Promote Your Art Through Video (no longer available), R. Daniel Foster left us with a challenge.
If you participated in this teleseminar and created a video as part of the challenge, we want to hear from you.
Please leave your video link in a comment on this post and tell us what you most enjoyed about the seminar. We'll give you free feedback.
Daniel and I want to know that you didn't just listen, but that you are implementing what you learned.
The first person to submit was Elaine Callahan, who shared this video.


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46 thoughts on “The Big Fat Artist Video Challenge”

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed the seminar and it reinforced the significance of brevity for me. I also gleaned that films themselves should be art pieces, independent of the art they are created to show or promote. My son is a sound designer and has created a few videos. He will be entering graduate school for film in the fall. He recently created a short piece for my show opening, “Coffee and Cigarettes, Friends and Lovers.”
    He is also working on a longer film about artist Richard Dunbrack, with whom I sometimes collaborate on my assemblage work. Here are two wonderful and short excerpts, “Time” and ‘Introduction” that I think can stand alone just as they are (They are better viewed on Firefox):

  2. Kathleen O'Brien

    Dear Alyson and Daniel,
    This is my first attempt using Windows Movie Maker.
    Not having a microphone, or camera other than Flip, it is more of a slide show. It is the best I can do at this point.
    Thank you in advance for feedback.

  3. Elaine | Fresh Food Face – love the music, the approach – the reveal! Great job. Love that it’s short too. For your end title card – I might suggest going with a still of your art – or a portion of it with white / green space left for titling. I would also title it differently, leaving out the “by Elaine” and presenting it more as an artist would – i.e.: the title of the painting, year created, your name, etc. Great job!

    1. Thank you, Daniel. I will apply your suggestions next time to the end. I struggled with how to handle. Now I know. I appreciate your feedback!

  4. Barbara Johansen Newman – great video Coffee and Cigs – I love really most of it – the wide and detail shots, the shots of people commenting on artwork (so important to show for an art opening video) – and LOVED the soundtrack – funny, because was just using a similar soundtrack yesterday for a project (spoken word below music) – it’s very effective and really evokes a mood. I kept anticipating seeing the actual artist – creator of these works at the end. Was that her? You? If so, the artist should be titled there, and the year – or whatever pertinent thing about the show we need to know. Remember – it’s also about LOCATING your viewers – giving them a place and setting in which to locate themselves. Great job.

  5. Kathleen O’Brien – slide shows are a good start! Love the music you selected – and the biggest comment would be to configure your titling differently. I would fade up on an actual artwork or even a portion of one to the side – and then put your initial titling either over the artwork or to the side in available white or black space. All the other titling – I would not put large and center as you have it. This tends to interfere with the video – and also your artwork – keep it as smaller titles – and as “lower thirds” – in the lower third – either right or left bottom of the screen. Also, using more presentational title cards as you’ve done I believe distract a bit from your art – I would either keep them very simple, or eliminate them – and make your titling much simpler. Keep going!

    1. Kathleen O'Brien

      Daniel, thank you for this excellent critique, I will implement what you suggest, Kathleen

  6. Dear Alyson, I took my first video 🙂
    I put it on my fan page on facebook and took good response. Here it is
    I tried to put subtitle however it seems it will to take time. I wanted to share immediately 🙂
    In the video I simply say:”I can define my work as portraiture of feelings. It is not like making the picture of something you see.. therefore I go back and forth from reality to abstract. Each of my paintings has a story.. and my style of story telling is dedicated to people who are young with their feelings. Generally, in the center, there are women. They are peaceful, gentle and noble.. Adding meaning to where they stand… Honoring with their presence.. I build whimsical compositions around them and give clues about the story I want to tell. I think this is the most critical point; building the story of the feeling… in the beginning or sometimes at the end.”
    That`s all 🙂 Well I had more sentences to tell but to keep it simple I cut it short. And also I wish I had a better camera.. Maybe next time.
    Best wishes.

  7. Thanks for taking the time to watch and comment, Daniel! Yes–I kind of avoided putting myself in there–or, I should say, I asked my son to avoid putting me in it! Next fall, I’ll ask him to do something again, that “presents” me more if I get the courage.
    I think the short pieces about Rich Dunbrack do an excellent job giving us a peek into who he is, and I am looking forward to the entire film when we get to see the pieces he is working on. I think I would love to have my son create one that is similar in nature to what I think that film will be like in the end.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      No, Georgia. I think video is a major commitment. It does get easier, but you have to re-learn everything if you don’t do it frequently or have an in-house video department (as if).

  8. Hi Georgia – some feedback:
    You follow the rule of thirds exactly! Excellent positioning of yourself in the frame. Couldn’t have done it better.
    It’s a bit odd that you’re looking off camera – while inviting everyone personally. I would rather have you look directly into the camera. This “off camera” style is usually reserved for interview type shots.
    The video starts a bit abruptly – would rather see a nice fade up from black as the first frames.
    Love your personal style of invitation – really works, and you have the personality for it.
    Titles might be better in frame’s lower left.
    Thanks for posting!
    – Daniel

    My goal is helping people understand my work and how it is done.
    I loved the seminar! It gave me so many ideas that I don’t know how to do yet! Daniel, your happy new year videos are so wonderful- the Rumi, and poems and the way the people are moving! After listening to you I took so many different angles. I had to cull it down from 45 minutes to 1.5. I can’t wait to do the next one but am thinking of contacting you for help or consulting.
    Thanks Alyson and Daniel!

  10. Hi Alyson and Daniel,
    The most useful part of the seminar was the emphasis on storyboarding and planning out the video. The video I’m posting could not have been made cogently without it. The video is as short as I could get it (a bit over 2 min since it features the process of making one of the pieces in the series I’m working on – an artwork related to each proof in one of the first books published on geometry, Euclid’s Elements. I post the artwork in a blog at
    First video ever – made with an Iphone taped to a lightstand and edited with IMovie – looking forward to your comments.

  11. Kathleen O’Brien – nice improvements. I would add some music, though, to keep it moving a bit. Right now there’s some silence during shots and it leaves sort of a “dry” feeling then. Congrats on the new vid!

  12. Carolyn Hancock Great job! I love this – great opening / closing titles, transitions, effects. Love the music – the exact right mood – adds good intrigue, pulls me in. You’re good to go!

  13. Wendy Tribulski – great job. Your audio starts off nice and strong – but then it’s lowered, and hard to hear. Make it nice and strong throughout. Good shots – but would vary them somewhat. SO – we hear you talking about a certain process – and w/in that segment – we see different angles of what you’re working on – from above, the extreme side maybe – or from behind your shoulder. Also – website address in a lower third upfront + a title card with your contact info at the end – and you’re good to go!

  14. Casandra Tondro – I like this. Couple of things – put your website URL upfront as well as an the end title card. Most of the shots are all from one angle, and wide. It would add lots of interest to vary these with various angles – and also some close-ups. I like the music + movement in the photographs. Great job.

  15. Daniel – thanks so much for the helpful comments. I’m going to reshoot and incorporate your suggestions. The audio is so clear and strong in the first segment because it’s a voice over, and I think that’s the way to go. Shoot video and add audio after.

  16. Cassandra Tondro – love that video! Are those still shots? The titling at the beginning and end is simple and elegant. What did you use to edit it? I used IMovie and am not thrilled with e limited choices it offers.

    1. Thanks, Wendy! Yes, they’re still shots, and when we shot them it was for an instructional blog post. Then it occurred to me later that they might make a nice video. I edited in Windows Movie Maker — also limited choices, but this is my first video, and it’s a good place to start.

  17. Thank you Daniel for the excellent presentation on video for artwork. Your thoughts and tips enlarged my understanding of and brought excitement for this venue to show off my work!
    I do not have a good video recorder and am waiting for a new camera/video to arrive in September. However I discovered I had Windows Live Movie Maker on my laptop so started fiddling around with it to see what I could create. Here is my first attempt – using closeup shots of one of my paintings. If you have time, I would so appreciate your critique. Thank you again for your generous sharing of expertise.

  18. Nancy Teague – thanks for posting your video – great work! I like the music and the slow pans of the paintings. What I’d like to see: Some closer shots to reveal details / your technique. Also – artwork (especially paintings) tend to look flat on video, and also in photos. It’s partly a matter of lighting, but also just the method of presentation. What would help – especially with your work – is to take some photos or video from an extreme side angle with some brighter or dramatic lighting, that way texture and interest is revealed. We get to look more deeply into your work – much like when in a museum of gallery you would approach a painting very close and look at it from the side to examine technique / brush strokes. The camera can do this as well. Look forward to the next!

  19. Nancy Teague – regarding Vimeo v YouTube – both have positives/negatives. YouTube has a wider audience – but many artists choose Vimeo because it has a more exclusive feel and you’re not thrown in with all the cat & dog videos. In the end, Vimeo is a great choice. I”d say in many cases it frames your work in a higher standard. And you can always post something on both, or have a channel also on YouTube for certain things where you want to cast your net and see who bites.

  20. Daniel, thanks for taking the time to comment. It was encouraging. I agree it is tough to show depth – especially in more abstract artwork.What a great idea about taking shots from a side angle with strong lighting to show depth/texture better! Indeed, when I am studying an original in a museum or gallery I get my nose right up to the side of the piece to ‘see’ what the artist did. Your suggestion will be fun to try. I’ll pass on my results if it works!
    Also appreciate your explanation and thoughts on Vimeo. A venue I did not know about.

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