A.J. Clark in the house: Every now and then, there’s the proverbial gem hidden right before one’s eyes. Or in the case of Amber Clark – aka A.J. Clark, her self-described “art persona” name – in plain sight in the office next to mine here at The Lincoln County News. Clark is the LCN’s web and graphic designer. She is also the brains and talent behind a new art-focused stream on live-streaming video platform Twitch.
Clark kicked off her “Digital Painting with A.J. Clark” stream on the evening of Saturday, May 5 with an online tutorial and a friendly chat about her inaugural project – an elaborate Pokemon-centric piece featuring an image of her cousin, Ian, surrounded by his favorite Pokemon characters, Suicune, Alakazam, Jolteon, Steelix, Typhlosion, and Venusaur. She is working on the lengthy project at Ian’s suggestion.
To date, Clark has conducted five Twitch streams, the longest lasting two hours, all focused on the Pokemon piece.
A gamer at heart – or a “lifelong nerd,” as she put it recently — Clark is clearly at home on Twitch, largely a gamer’s platform, with a section reserved for creative activities such as hers. Clark charmingly holds court, headset on head, while she draws, edits, draws again, all the while chatting to her viewers and anyone who happens to weigh in in the site’s chat room.
At the LCN, Clark tends to be quiet, necessarily focused on her work, which involves concentration and, sometimes, complex coding. On Twitch, she has the opportunity to express herself, both artistically and vocally. It’s fun to watch and listen to her.
“So far it’s been fun,” Clark said of her Twitch experience. “I used to want to be a teacher. I like the aspect of talking about what I’m doing while I’m doing it … It’s all of the good things about being a teacher and none of the bad” – like “dealing with the administration and people’s parents.”
In addition to learning digital drawing and painting techniques, one can also learn art terminology from Clark, who has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, focused on art and writing. “Contrapposto” was one such term in a recent stream. Clark largely, and nicely, defined the word by using the example of the stance of the figure of her cousin in her drawing.
Clark said she began digital painting when she was 13 years old. She is now 29.
“I grew up in a really rural area,” Clark told me. “Art supplies were really hard to come by.” Hence, her diving into digital painting.
Clark said she finds doing her Twitch streams “relaxing” after a 40-hour work week. Plus, “it gives me the incentive to work on something if I know there’s someone watching me do it. It’s motivating for me,” she said.
Clark, who writes short stories, “mostly sci-fi or fantasy,” plans to incorporate her writing into her Twitch stream by “bringing a story in and illustrating it.”
To attract viewers to her fledgling project, Clark is offering to “do a free drawing for a random follower on-stream” when she gets 50 followers. That person, who she said will be chosen by randomizer, will also receive a signed poster print of that drawing.
Clark’s next Twitch live-stream will take place at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 18. “It could go to 7 or 8 (p.m.), potentially,” she said. “People can tune in at any time. There’s no narrative. People can hop in and start chatting.”
(Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write me a letter in care of The Lincoln County News, P.O. Box 36, Damariscotta, ME 04543. I love to hear from readers.)