Category: Teaching Resources

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Design Projects – Promotional Fun with Vintage Design

Promotional Fun with Vintage Design

This post is an adaptation from my personal website, however, it fits in here perfectly if you are looking to explore some new design projects with your class(es) or even for yourself. I used myself as the example, haha, what fun!

<enter Ryan>

I love to learn new things. I love this aspect of life because this experience on earth always has something new to teach us each and everyday. Especially if you are looking for it. I’m always looking for it! I’m a big fan of Skillshare.com and perhaps one day will submit a course of my own! (Would you take my class?) As an artist and graphic designer it is important for us to keep our marketing and promotional materials fresh! I love this aspect of the business! We get the repeat opportunity to communicate who we are and what we can do to help others solve problems. OK, there is more to it than that, but in a nutshell using visual forms of promotional communication help give others a chance to resonate with what we can do.

As much as I love learning on skillshare, I’m an even bigger fan of graphic designer Aaron Draplin, the DDC! You can check out his work here. Draplin has a series of great courses on skillshare. I have taken them all and learned a ton! And no, they are not paying me to promote them or Draplin. I share this because there is a tremendous amount of value and experience for all up for the taking. I have been pretty sick this summer and have been slowly recovering. I took advantage of this time to watch, pause, watch some more and learn from a series of great courses. Here is the information for the course below, as well as a few of my outcomes.

The course is titled “Getting Dirty with the DDC” and it puts an emphasis on techniques creating crusty, vintage and manipulated design imagery in the form of an advertisement and promotion (and so much more, this is a fast description). Draplin works it using adobe photoshop, illustrator and a series of his handmade tricks and analog techniques. He references a lot of great vintage design from the brilliant era of print production. He always shares a variety of great stuff from the 1960’s – 1990’s (and beyond). Draplin and I are in the same age group so I resonate with everything that he shares and its nothing short of nostalgic! I directly applied my studies and project to some self promotion and marketing for my own business and services offered here at RSA&D LLC! As you know, I love making promotional stuff, and adding humor and fun into it, it helps me share my personality and overall lightheartedness. Does that come through in my outcomes below?

Here is the direct link to the class  <–

My outcomes from the class (Mr. Draplin, if you see this, how did I do?)

1. The Original. This is the 1st iteration and layout with very little manipulation aside from converting everything to black and white. I pre-prepared the assets, graphics and images using both photoshop and illustrator, most of which are all my own hand drawn illustrations. It was fun to use the illustrations in this context and show some of those skills. I used adobe illustrator for the layout, adding and manipulating the type and saving the file (.ai – vector format – which is great should that vector format be needed in the future). Then I brought the file into photoshop and got to manipulating. This was really fun and definitely plan to do a project like this with my design students as well!

2. The Photo-copy Machine Simulation – this is the 2nd iteration following the techniques in the course. I have always loved copy machines and have over-taken them at every location I have worked where I had access. I love the degenerated look and how we can make things look older and grittier. I really enjoyed the process and continue to tinker with this. 

3. Color Overlay Fun – I had to try a series of colorful backgrounds! This is what takes me back to late the 1980s and 1990s. So much print media was reproduced this way. Especially for events like concerts, meet ups, gatherings, etc.. it was a relatively cheap way to make print reproductions and spread them around. Of course, sky is the limit here, not only with the colors, but with adding more textured papers and backgrounds for more impact.

4. Further Iterations – there are so many free resources on the web for old paper and textures, this is just one idea below.. Im excited to push on this and iterate more, many thanks to Mr. Draplin for the energy and inspiration!

<exit Ryan>

<snip> :))

Until You Write Down – Class Exercise

a colorful image of a subjective landscape from another world

Until You Write Down –

A Class Exercise – (feel free to tweak and alter this to meet your courses needs)

I have been thinking a lot about how our goals, dreams, desires and aspirations become the actual physical “objects, things, situations and accomplishments” that we experience in our lives. The process itself seems elusive and often intangible. The more I contemplate it, the more intrigued I become. Perhaps this is all a part of the necessary formula of developing self-awareness that motivates us into a stylized series of actions. Perhaps this is also a personal intervention that we need to create for ourselves and put it into practice? I believe that we need to be reflective very often and to audit our patterns of behavior. This includes our day to day thoughts and thinking process. It is far easier said than actually done, but lets brainstorm together a bit here. Im just a student of life writing this as both an intervention and a reminder for myself with the hopes that others may also find use value and inspiration in the exercise.

“Until You Write it Down..” is the title of this post and my intention is to use the title both literally and as a metaphor, I’ll explain more as we dig in but this post may (after editing and re-reading it 50 times) be a two-part series with deeper insight into the process as we go, so lets start slowly. By the way, I really love the word “revision” as I believe that it is actually a portal. Making revisions shows us that we can always make improvements based on the generating of a result that we have produced. Which, if you think about it, makes it impossible to fail at anything as we can choose to make a better result in contrast to our first iteration(s). That choice will play out first and foremost internally. It will be a new series of images, feelings and sensations inside the mind and body. The choice to do this requires some of my other favorite words, “patience, resolve, spirituality and surrender”. (I have by no means mastered the application of any of these words, but I am hyper-aware that they are huge contributors to the process..) To have patience about “something” (which can be a new or old situation, circumstance, person(s), etc..) is a matter of surrendering to that something, becoming quiet, shifting focus and attention away from it while having the resolve (insert the word “trust” here) to go forward that all will be well, and the outcome that one needs the most to grow or learn will be what manifests. This is also a practice, and the best teacher..

(*Note – this post may receive a few more formatting edits after its original publication date as I get more ideas as I re-read it!)

I believe that we must “exercise” our dreams, desires and goals into reality. We must also have a target to aim at with an end result in mind. Whatever we wish to be, do or have needs to be expressed outwardly from inside of the body (from our mind, feelings and emotions) and outwardly into the physical world. Our body plays a key role as the vehicle of the medium. Of course a dream or a goal’s narrative first happens “within”. We craft these things from our individual life experiences and begin to reflect and see ourselves engaged in the desired outcomes. But, do those inner narratives stall and become infinite loops of endless “wanting-ness” rather than actual tangible experiences? I can certainly say that I have experienced this many many many times. I continue to reflect and ask, how do we get those goal-based narratives that were birthed and given thought energy from inside to reach and harden into experiential reality? Well, “time” certainly plays a big role, and synonymous with “time” are those famous words that I listed above: “patience, resolve, spirituality and surrender”.

Here we are in the fall of 2021 as I write this. So much has and continues to happen at accelerated paces. Is it just me who feels this way? Of course not, we are all in this accelerated energy together. There is a lot to process, express and share related to the disruptions and trauma caused by COVID-19 and how this has and continues to impact us both individually and collectively. I need to save this for a follow up post, and I promise that I will write it soon. However, it is this last year that has induced a deeper and heightened level of reflection and awareness in all of us. 

A thought popped into my head as I write this: “Perhaps the emotional sentiments of missing out on something are really disguised and misunderstood as repressed, unclear and unorganized feelings of an intense desire to create?”

An inner light bulb clicked on. I thought, and asked myself, is my focus on “waiting and wanting” more than I am taking actual creative action on the things that I consider goals? And, what were those goals again? It’s been a long time since I stopped to think about this, plus, what I thought those goals were seem to be just all in my “head” kind of floating around. Fragmented thoughts are not a target, and this is something I believe I can control through setting clear intentions and listing a series of goals with desired outcomes.

We learn so many things at various stages of our individual life experiences. It’s not consistent with others, its more like extreme contrast, however, there will always be a number of things, situations and circumstances in our day to day lives that we will not be able to control. No matter how hard we try to intervene, some things will not be changeable and we will only experience them. I don’t mean this in a negative way but in a way that helps us come to terms with acceptance, surrender and the ability to understand that we do have a choice in how we can respond. Even if that means we need a long time to reflect and correct the way we originally reacted to something.. this is all too human. There are many things that we can put our focus and attention on, set intentions and work towards. The disclaimer here is that this requires self-awareness, a bit of discipline, your favorite word “patience” and a series of practiced actions, lets consider..

The summer has always been a special and significant time of year for me in my experience here on this planet. Im hyper-aware that I am conscious and living in a multi-sensory physical body. My body (we only have one..) is finite and I take good care of it so that it will work in a harmonious unison with my mental, emotional and physical health. Im grateful for my body and my health, even though I certainly overdo things from time to time. We all do.. The summer represents a time to slow down a little and spend more time working on self-awareness and replaying some of the years events thus far. I like to take stock on what has been accomplished, what still needs tending to, what I gave up on and what I need to let go of. This applies especially to really outdated behaviors, dreams and goals that no longer are desired (which requires the audit I mentioned above). Please keep in mind that all of this reflecting is “in my head” and streaming through the in and out phasing of consciousness through out the day. We all know that difference right? One minute we are super aware and focused on our current or implied thoughts and reflections and then another thought intervenes by unwanted infiltration and we become distracted and loose our original focus. This is a cycle of sorts, and we participate in it rather quite easily, day in and day out. Science tells us that we have over sixty thousand or more thoughts per day and most of them are repetitive. How and why do we create that repetitive automation in the first place? All of this thought energy stays “in our head” unless we do something to change those loops and patterns. I believe that we need another medium to contrast the process (besides thoughts in our head) to guide, realign and express things.

Im going to use the example of “goals” because it is extremely relatable for everyone. Can you think of one dream or goal that has been with you for a really really long time?

We all have dreams and goals. But wait, are those dreams and goals up to date in this current moment in alignment with who you have and continue to become? It’s not exactly an easy question. Think about it for a second, are those dreams and goals just “in your head” as looping recycled stories from 5, 10 or 20 years ago? Are they now just repetitive thoughts with no emotional charge or clear visual imagery? Do you FEEL anything as those loops play over? 

(Re-read that last paragraph above please)

This is an interesting confrontation and it warrants an audit of the stories that we keep telling our selves. Doing this seems easy in theory but there is a lot of psychology at play here. Resistance plays a role as the implication of “change” is something we are good at fearing. If we take stock and audit a goal or dream that we have had for many years and it has not happened then we have to be accountable for that. We usually take this as a disappointment, which does not feel good, but alas, it is necessary to move forward. Perhaps a good first step is changing the previous script. Updating it for today is the action to take but our “previous body and mind” may need more help in the process. Let’s clarify a few things, dreams and goals that have not yet happened are NOT failures. If these things are still important to you then they simply need to be updated and nurtured. They need to be expressed outwardly, meaning, outside of the body and into the world. Lets give it a try!

It is now time to “write down” your goals. We need to set a target and come back to give it water, love, nurturing and surrender to the control over “how” things will show up. (surrender and trust)

Step # 1 – Please get a pen or pencil and a piece of paper (or type this as a note on your phone or in a word processing document on your computer, or speak it into a recording device that you can play it back on, or use a visual signed language and record yourself so that you can see it play back) Now make a list of your top three short-term goals that you wish to accomplish now and do the same for your top three long-term goals (long-term could be with in the next 5 years). Step #1 of this exercise will most likely happen really fast, really slowly or you wont do it at all. Do these two lists flow out and come to you easily or does it take a while to do? Did you allow yourself to do it at all? Believe it or not, most people will not do this. They wont or have never made a list of their goals at all..  Remember, this intervention sends signals of “change” to the brain and body, and change is hard, so if you feel that resistance, know that it is totally expected. Take your time.

Step #2 – Re-read, Re-listen or Re-watch the lists that you have made a few times. As you experience those lists, how do you feel? What becomes of your emotional state? Do those lists make you feel happy and inspired and propel you into creative action? Or, do you feel sad, mad, frustrated or even nothing at all? If you feel any of these, you most likely may have a hard time adding a “WHY” reason / statement to each individual goal. This may be your indication that the goal needs to be revised or updated in its narrative. This is a good thing as it helps us get more clear on the goal. Why is this goal is important to you? How will this help you, and most importantly, how will the accomplishment of this goal help others and the world at large? For step #2, add this aspect to each goal to expand upon its clarity and deeper meaning. Add a statement of “Why”.

I found that this was pretty difficult to do the first time around! I kept getting distracted and spacing out. I also had to just allow myself to write out my lists and not “edit” them as I went. Once I gave that part up, it was much easier. The best part of this is how things took shape as I re-read my lists. I kept having more sentiments and ideas of the many little details and elements that were important and needed to be a part of each goal’s statement. This continued to expand until images started to form in my minds eye and as those images activated my emotional state, and I became more and more excited reading the lists. The reading part becomes charged with good emotions, and this seems to be a very important part of the process!

Ill be back soon for part 2, until then, feel free to leave your thoughts below!

 

September is Deaf Awareness Month!

Hello Everyone!

September is Deaf Awareness Month!

Here are some things that you can do to help spread Deaf awareness at your campus, in your department, in your school, classroom, work place, community and beyond. This post has context. I’m a Deaf and Hard of Hearing digital art & design professor teaching here in CUNY (and beyond). This post is about representation, advocacy and awareness. We still have a lot of work to do to. Communication and language is our birthright! I made this series of animated GIFs to help you see how creativity can play a role in the facilitating of awareness. Lets jump in.

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

This month you can help spread awareness about Deaf culture, what does it means to be Deaf & Hard of Hearing (HofH) and experiencing the various spectrums of hearing loss. You can get involved and be proactive, here are a few ways to take-action, and by all means, SHARE THIS WIDELY!

What is it like to Deaf? Check out this video! (you can also use a search engine by asking the same question for more results and examples) Here is 1 of many many many examples.

Understanding comes through Awareness, lets dig in: even awareness takes practice!

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month - finger-spelling the word: practice

1. Learning, Sharing and Informing your Family, Friends, Colleagues and Students:

First, spread the word by sharing this post! Simply talking about Deaf Awareness Month is a great start. Let other people know by reaching out. This can easily take place in a department meeting, in the classroom, via a group e-mail or by creating an event or meet up to discuss. In your department, reach out to the Human Resources office and ask about the resources your campus offers. This may mean connecting to a specific person in charge or the office of accessibility / disabilities on or off the premises. If there aren’t any current resources, (and sadly, there may not be) then it is time to create them! Don’t forget to reach out to your librarians! (They are the most awesome resource (and awesome in general 🙂 and can help!) Let this post be a guide and a starting point. Again, awareness is everything, and awareness desires to always expand!

 

an ASL GIF animation for the word "Inspired"
via – https://giphy.com/signwithrobert/

Obviously, the Internet is filled with tons of resources, here are a few to help get you started and inspired!:

NAD https://www.nad.org/

American Deaf Culture

Deaf Culture – Wiki

Sign Language – Wiki

What Does it Mean to Be Deaf/ Hard of Hearing?

 

Lets learn a bit of ASL Historyhere is a great short video to help introduce you – and again, an internet search using the same terms of search query will gather tons of examples!

 

A bit more on ASL history can be found here:

https://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-layout/history1.htm

https://www.handspeak.com/culture/index.php?id=86

 

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month with a NYC subway train loop

(animation translation – the subway cars above reads: “Deaf Awareness Month Graffiti”)

 

the american sign language alphabet - fingerspelling and hand shape chart

1. Learn A Sign Language: It’s time to learn a sign language! Here in the USA we use ASL, also known as American Sign Language. ASL is beautiful! It is an official foreign language. Even learning the basics of fingerspelling and the ASL alphabet goes a very long way.

I’m a big fan of smartphone applications like: The ASL App

Dr. Bill Vicars has a great website and his YouTube channel is a great place to start learning ASL!

I love Handspeak.com and Giphy.com also has a great search archive of various ASL teachers and personalities here

Gallaudet University also has a great free online course here.

There are a lot of options! Choose one and get started!

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month -finger spelling the word- brooklyn

Above: Now you know how to finger-spell ” BROOKLYN” in the American Sign Language Alphabet 🙂

 

For those of you here in NYC (and beyond as remote classes are now fully in place) I highly recommend taking classes at the Sign Language Center – they are so wonderful! I am a student there and cant say enough about how great they are!

Several CUNY colleges (and private colleges) also offer ASL classes at the beginner level (did you know that?) Take a peek at your local college’s course catalog or do a search for ASL / the name of your college, online. Many are offered online!

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

3. Join or Create a Sign Language Group: All colleges and university campuses have an allotted “club-hours” time each week for clubs on campus (and now remotely as many of us work, teach and attend classes from home.) Does your campus already have a Sign Language group or club? Inquire! If not, perhaps you can use the club-hours time to form an ASL club and practice learning Sign Language together. Learning with a friend or a group of people is a great way to inspire, encourage and motivate each other.

 

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

4. Support! Reach out to your local Deaf & Hard of Hearing Communities: This means, People, Businesses, Organizations and Groups! Once again, by reaching out to your campus HR dept. and or office of disabilities / accessibility and make an inquiry about how to get involved and who the contact names are for various groups, communities, events and businesses. Reach out!

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

5. Creativity – Go on and Create Something to Express Yourself: I made most of the animations in this post specifically for Deaf Awareness Month. You can get creative too! This can be done individually or in your classroom, it can be done with your department and fellow faculty members, administrators and staff. Collaborate! Make a sign, make a flyer, make a poster or a digital illustration. Hang them up around your department offices and in your classrooms online and offline. Get creative! Im going to be launching a multi-campus wide project soon to bring further awareness, I will be reaching out to YOU!

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

6. Closed Captions, Accessibility & Inclusion –  (THIS MEANS YOU!) – It is time to caption your videos and video meetings, yes, all of them! Its long overdue, its time to be inclusive and to provide accessibility for all. From now on, use ONLY a video conferencing application that has live and real time captions. Record your videos with captioning and make transcriptions available.There are so many platforms available today that work really well, they all provide transcripts and or the ability to record the video with captions. Zoom, REV, Google Meet, Skype, & MS Teams are just a few to name. This is the perfect month to take action and make the necessary changes, updates and adaptations so that all communication is inclusive and accessible. As a college professor teaching all of my courses remotely this semester, I have been using Zoom with the REV add-on for live and real time captions (I am 100% dependent on captions). I find that these two tools together work best for me and my disability. The captioning is fast and consistent while Zoom gives me the ability to see all of my students and select how I want to see the speaker/speakers in a full composite meeting. Yes, I lip and speech read! When I record my classes, I automatically record the captions and also produce an audio and text transcription.

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

Would you like to see more Ryan Seslow art surrounding Accessibility awareness?

Check out my online exhibition here

 

Please feel free to add to this series of resources in the comments section below! Thank you!

Contact me! Want to learn more, chat, connect and create some kind of an awareness based creative project with your students, class or faculty members? I’m here to help! e-mail here – rseslow@bmcc.cuny.edu

Back to Teaching Reminders!

a colorful digital illustration of an abstract series of jazz musicians playing various musical instruments together

Welcome Back!

Obviously there is a lot to say and catch up on, but first and foremost, a reminder of Empathy.

I would like to ask my fellow teaching colleagues far and wide to consider this information as you begin teaching your courses again this fall. Our students, colleagues and campus communities need us more than ever this semester.

Whether you are teaching 1 course or 7, this applies to all.

Keywords – Patience, Empathy, Compassion, Creativity, Accessibility, Inclusion & Community

1. There is no ego in teaching. Be an example of patience, compassion, empathy and understanding. Make this your mantra. Your energy is contagious! Meaning, your vibration carries information to each and every person in the classroom (in person or virtual.) The emotional state of your vibration creates rapport between people. You can set the vibration for the semester in your first-class meeting by expressing your gratitude, excitement, appreciation and enthusiasm for teaching and meeting your new students. Again, this is contagious energy!

2. Take acute awareness that your course(s) holds all of the potential to be an incredibly unique learning experience in and of itself. I mean this far beyond any of the specific course content that will be covered throughout the semester. Acknowledge, we are all human beings coming into the course from various places and stages in our journey together on this planet. There is always a part of each and every one of us within each other. Whether it is an example of who you once were, relate to now, or a reflection of the future you to come. There you are.

3. Think about the fact that yourself, and the group of incoming students will be having a new experience in the same physical or virtual space, at the same time for the next 15 weeks. This experience, with the exact same people, in the exact same “space” and time frame will never happen again. Discuss and discover your similarities and collective strengths as a class and how those individual characteristics form the modular fragments that make up the whole. Every class is a community. It will function as one with great energy if it is declared collectively.

4. Create a community! Every course holds the potential to be platform for collaboration and community building. This means, setting up a series of dialogs early on for learning about each other. What are the passions, concerns and ambitions of each student, how are they taking steps to realize those things? Remind yourself before, during and after each class; what roll do you play as a leader and facilitator of inspiration for your students?

5. Realize, our students are teaching us far more than we are teaching them. (read that again if you need to) If you have a classroom of 20 students, then a minimum of 20 new potentialities, solutions, variations and iterations will be generated, worked on, crafted, discussed, written, spoken, presented uniquely and shared back to you (and the class itself) for each assignment. That is a tremendous amount of information and energy. Remember, there is no EGO in teaching, so whether these outcomes please your expectations or not, you have been exposed to a new opportunity to help, learn, grow and see things from another’s perspective. The sum total of awareness from openly experiencing things from another’s point of view is the diminishment of competition-based thinking, and the humble transition into seeing infinite creativity.

6. Do you really think that you are going to inspire your new students this semester by spending the first-class meeting time reading the entire syllabus? Place an emphasis on our collective human-ness first and foremost. Your class(s) are communities awaiting the declaration of its potentiality. Introductions should be the first thing that happens. Learn each other’s names, share stories, connect and learn about each other.

7. Make all of your content Accessible and Inclusive! A single method of sharing course materials is completely outdated in 2021! Make a commitment to learning new skills that will facilitate and foster accessibility and inclusion across your teaching methodologies. If you are using audio and video, make sure that there is a written transcript and real time closed captions available at all times. Use high contrast visuals and plug-ins that give the user the ability to visually tweak and control the value and contrast of what is on their screen. Add alt-text to images for screen reader access, and do some research on “accessibility & inclusion”. Your campus has an office for this and are there to help. Reach out. This is your responsibility. Most of all, ASK your students what THEY NEED for them to best receive the teaching materials.

If you need some help with this, please reach out to me – rseslow@york.cuny.edu 

 

Keywords – Patience, Empathy, Compassion, Creativity, Accessibility, Inclusion & Community

 

Have a wonderful Semester!

 

Feel free to add to this thread in the comments section below!

A Drama in Monotones, The Tutorial..

A Drama in Monotones, The Tutorial

Early June, 2021, A new series of Digital Illustrations & Animated GIFs

(This post is an adaptation from my personal website, it has context here as it serves as an example and prompt for reflective writing about one’s process. How may you turn this into an assignment?)

Welcome to yet another new series of art works! Let’s talk about how they come together while we appreciate them, shall we? I have always felt that writing about my process itself is a very helpful way for me retain it and expand upon it. I always find myself inspired by the process itself, so why just narrate it inside my own head… I like to share, as you know! Lets examine, how did this series start? Where does it all come from? Where will it go? What am discovering in the process that I should make a note of? Let’s take a look. Im a big fan of open education and learning from others, I hope this post can help you! Scroll down and take in these first two illustrations.

 

“The Untitled Minimal Setting”, 2021 Digital Illustration

 

“The Untitled Minimal Setting II”, 2021 Digital Illustration

The two images above really fueled this whole series below. I know, that may seem strange, but this is what may happen sometimes with process. Sometimes I simply create an arbitrary “scene / setting” first, but it was really through some random experimenting this time. I knew that I wanted to work in monotones and play with some single color values. The trees in the illustrations above came as ready made graphic assets. It is a part of a photoshop brush plug-in set that I found online, (there are tons of free brush tool plug-ins out there for photoshop..) I applied the tree as a solid color image into a flat landscape that I made and duplicated it to use as a shadow on the ground. I then added a gradient overlay to the tree’s layer and I duplicated the trees and the shadows as layers. I placed them all into the composition. I made a few other variations of this scene but these two above are my favorites. This was all done in adobe photoshop.

Next..

I now knew that I wanted to add “something” or “someone” into the scene that I had just created. A narrative or perhaps a snippet of “life happening” in a fun or other-worldly way. I kept thinking about the nostalgia that childhood cartoons had and continues to play in my art. I also wanted to make this image move, animate and loop. I recalled something… oh yes, that drawing that I made a few months ago, those cool looking line characters were still waiting for me to activate them! The image above (click on it to expand and make it bigger) was a part of series of characters that were drawn with a stylus in adobe illustrator with my wacom tablet. Those smooth vector lines are so much fun to make and are also editable as paths. This makes it really fun to alter and stylize. I began to deconstruct the image and isolate several parts.

 

As I mentioned, from the big drawing above I derived a few fragments and played with them. I reconstructed them into new forms and assets to start making a new character with. I mean, sky is the limit here and I love discovering the possibilities to expand things into new works. Once I was happy with my new graphics I colorized them and isolated them onto one page. I brought the new illustrator file back into photoshop and made individual files and layers for each asset. I realize now that I only focused on the upper torso and the arms of the character but thats OK for now as I can always continue forward if the inspiration keeps stoking the fire for more! Haha, I know that it will!

 

This was the first composition of the new character placed into the setting. Once I did this I knew that I could easily animate it too. I still really like the static illustration and it forced me to make another one, which you see below (haha, and a few more!) The illustration below is a bit more abstract and possibly even more fun to look at, what do you think? I kept going.. obviously, wouldn’t you? 

 

It was fun to make this variation, and.. once I did, I decided to send all the individual assets to my phone and play around there too. There are so many ways to use mobile devices for digital marking.. that is another story for another post as go forward. I love the tension that different devices and interfaces give in terms of their screen resolutions and how things look across multiple devices or outdated tech.. For example, this week I will pull this image up on an old MacBook laptop that I have from the year 2009. I’ll take a few screen shots of it and transfer it to a mini DV tape and play it back through an older monitor, or something like that. Those screen captures and variants taken from things like a mini DV tape are so much fun to play with.

 

This illustration above was composed from those same assets using my iPhone. I used the “Glitch’e” app (check the app store or google play) to bring it all together (as layers) and play with the color. It is over saturated on purpose to give the impression of a bit more intensity and a warmer temperature in the “scene”. The cropping of the composition leads us to think that “something or someone” else is also participating in the dialog.

Does it work? Ok, let’s animate this thing!

 

Then.. it was finally time to fire up adobe after effects and bring this guy to life. First, I put that background on a seamless directional loop to the left (I expanded the background layer / screen by twice the length of it) so that the character would appear to be moving forward in a walk cycle. This is my first iteration of this animation cycle. I like it so far but I want to do more with it. I need to fix a few of my puppet warp movements, or should I make it “glitch” more? Hmmm, Ill play with it a bit more and already think I have another idea..

 

Welp, as I mentioned, once things get going, its kind of hard to stop pushing the limits with creativity. I started to bring in “other elements” from things that were previously made. I make a ton of graphic assets from my illustrations and applied art works. This is the beauty of digital art, there is such a powerful immediacy to aspects of it. Of course, making the assets can be super time consuming depending on what you are doing. For example, working with the pen tool in photoshop or illustrator.. either way, its good practice and the assets are always waiting for you! I kept going and made things a bit more abstract… Thoughts?

 

mmm.page Creative Awesomeness

mmm.page Creative Awesomeness

Ah, the speed and the beauty of the Internet! The Internet will always find out, and the Internet will compel you to share! Less than a week ago I was “woke” to mmm.page by my fellow colleague, collaborator, mentor and friend; MBS, aka Michael Branson Smith! MBS has an amazing acute radar for discovering all kinds of new creative digital tools! He always finds them first and so graciously alerts me right away! This past Wednesday he did this with mmm.page! He shilled me an example of what he created using his mobile device, I was impressed and activated! I jumped right in. I signed in. No password needed, just input your e-mail address and wait for the link to verify – that is all that is needed. Within 2 minutes I was in and creating…

I became reflective, immediately. A lot of digital artists and educators like myself may recall Net-Art creation sites like “newhive” and “to.be” back in the late 2010 – 2015-ish years. Those platforms were super cool for the time, purely web browser dependent, Net-Art making machines that pushed the context of the tool so far ahead. Both platforms created huge communities and produced a lot of new artists, art stars, web browser enthusiasts and educators. The creative potential of the web browser continues to excite me. The truth is, if you build it, they will come, mmm.page has brought this ability and energy back! I have been literally looking for something like this since both newhive and to.be vanished.. I know a lot of other artists, designers, educators and creatives also feel this way too. Bottom line, the site invites your energy, awesomeness and creative immediacy. Let me says that again, creative immediacy. Creative immediacy is the action that is taken once we become inspired and mmm.page is a bolt of lighting in terms of creative immediacy.

The site is for everyone! Of course I am speaking and sharing from my own personal interests, examples and awareness of how I want to use the tool, but, thats just one perspective. The tool can easily be used for digital art making, but more importantly to make beautiful websites of all kinds, and to expand the context of what a website is and can be. Plus, just how much creative control we have with in the web browser space itself. This is also a creative license to develop a digital identity! (And, we may create many!) This excites the hell out of me. The creator of mmm.page is called “xh”. xh -is a super cool person who is community oriented and has allowed for me to begin infiltrating the platform 🙂 I immediately reached out and made a connection. I love supporting new projects, participating and making new friends. Its always fun to connect with like-minded awesome peeps who want to make and share utilitarian tools that can help others. Cheers to xh!

 

This post is just part 1 of the many that I feel I can write about mmm.page! Im excited to bring the site’s capabilities back into the realm of teaching and creating a series of both individual projects and collaborations between students, faculty and campuses. And of course I hope that MBS will participate! (I know he will!) Im also excited to develop a new body of digital art works using the site and meeting new people in the community. 

The first thing I did with mmm.page.. I applied MBS’s tip, I made a piece and shared it immediately as a part of guest talk and workshop I gave with CUNY Graduate Center students. The students were asked to use the site and jumped right in! – You can see that post here! (the results from the workshop are still flowing in as we speak)

 

I then got busy creating, playing and generating the examples below:

 

Here is the first series of my experiments made with mmm.page 

(click each URL and take a tour – most pieces are made via the desktop version but the last two links were made via mobile)

 

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.main

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.multi_drama

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.forward_motion

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.art_history_remix

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.parttwo

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.revolutions

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.MobileFlow

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.Mobilized

 

Do you like what you see above? Great, I thought so! Now, below you will see how things can be expanded upon further. The images below are full page screen shots taken with “GoFullPage” which is a free google chrome web browser extension that allows one to, well, get a full page screen shot. You can save the screen shot as a .PNG or a .PDF file. I began doing this with my mmm.page creations and then opening them in Adobe Illustrator to live trace them into vector files (I know, fancy fancy). As you know, vectors are scalable, you can make them and use them as small or as big as you wish, and they print really well too. So, mmm.page became both a creation and teaching tool as well as a catalyst to push things further. And of course adobe illustrator allows for infinite recoloring potentials.. Perhaps these pieces below will become 1/1 edition NFTs? Hmmm, lets see.. In the meantime, scroll below. PS – I may re-use these as background image settings for my next mmm.page creation. (fist bump)

More to come!

 

The “From My Window & Other Spaces” Workshop

Welcome to the The “From My Window & Other Spaces” Workshop

Many thanks to my host, Nanda for the invitation! My name is Ryan Seslow, nice to meet you!

 

Lets talk a little bit about Creativity, Immediacy and Intuition:

Creativity is..

Immediacy is..

Intuition is..

In what order do these words go?

Creativity + Intuition + Immediacy = …….. 

 

Reminder, we can always pause.

Pause, and become aware of this very passing second. I mean REALLY AWARE, so stop and be still.

You are alive. Contemplate that. What does being alive mean to you? Have you ever defined it beyond someone else’s interpretation? If not, its time to do this, and no, it can not be done in the next 3 seconds.. I believe that a big part of this life is to create and express that unique ability we all can contribute.

It will take some reflection.. More than this workshop and blog post, but perhaps this is a metaphor, a portal that lures you in and activates you.

You are a thinking, breathing, feeling, sensory being processing this exact passing moment. Exactly as you read this from the specific location that you are in, with the age that your body is, in the time zone of the highest level of what you understand consciousness to be. We can always expand this awareness. Its a metaphor (there is that word again), because all the while, you are simultaneously existing on a seemingly gigantic rock spinning through the “space” that the best of the best of the best world’s scientists keep discovering only keeps expanding into more….well, space. In the grand scheme of things, our gigantic rock may not be so gigantic when we think from this perspective. Its actually the size we think it is relative to our awareness of it.

How do you develop the ability to audit this awareness and ask yourself what potentials lay in this metaphor? And, how can we apply this other things that we wish to change or create from scratch.

It will require creativity, intuition and imagination. So go ahead and ASK.

Ask yourself: “What is the creative potential of my awareness of this moment, and how may I intervene?

When we turn this directly to our workshop and re-propose the question: “What is the creative potential of a window, my window and other spaces with in context?”

What would you like to express about this moment and the awareness of it? How will you do it?

Chances are, you are holding your “device or viewing this through a computer” as you read this.

You know what device I am referring to. Perhaps its a laptop, desktop, iPhone, android or a tablet? It doesn’t matter and either way, it first started simply as an idea. An expression of a collective need to expand, grow, learn and express. Much like the infinite expanding space that we mentioned above your device(s) is an intermediary tool to express the potentials of creative space. Our viewing are rectangles… sometimes they are held and viewed vertically and sometimes they are turned horizontally, but before any content is consumed, its a rectangle in its form. That rectangle is a window, and so is a web browser window..

You tech device(s) are remote controls for the planet!

We interacted with simple geometric shapes every single day, we take all of them for granted and rarely think of the doorways we are passing through as rectangles. Or the TV that we watch as the rectangle. As we walk up steps we rarely think of them as the horizontal rectangles that stack upwards or downwards.. You get the idea..

What is the creative potential of YOU and the rectangle that you are holding or looking through? (this is the part of things where you think Im a little weird, right? lol..)

SO what are you passionate about? What is that you always wanted to express and share with the world? What is it that holds you back? Is what holds you back on the other side of the window?

If you never “Start” then you will never have a result to work from. The only metric you have are the ones that you fear your expression wont compliment.

So, lets start. Lets express. Lets share this into that rectangle / window that you are looking through and make it a practice.

Lets jump into an exercise -lets experiment and create a space on the web that is yours and personalize it. Broadcast yourself!

Taking risks that benefit your growth and personal development while impacting and including your fellow human beings has serious mental, spiritual & emotional value.

This is your story, and storytelling is the communication pilot of the Electric Landscapes we navigate.

LETS MAKE SOME ART!

 

Experiment with Some “Free to Use” Digital Tools:

Lets create a page using mmm.page (its Free!) – https://mmm.page

mmm.page is a web browser based digital collage making platform / space. It works perfectly in the “window” of your web browser. It also works on mobile devices!

Many thanks to MBS for the mmm.page tip off!)

Here is an example I made with mmm.page:

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.main

I pre-prepared a series of graphic assets that you can download and use for this, but feel free to make and discover your own, especially if there is specific context to your ideas. Here is that link:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ZWB0jL_z_iU9mH2rf3Imthk4AUpYYRGi

Photopea.com – is a free web browser based digital image making and manipulating application, we can alter and manipulate and prepare images in this space!

 

Places to find Images online – Creative Commons based:

Pixabay.com – great resource for images and transparent assets! (we will use this for the workshop)

National Gallery of Art  With the launch of NGA Images, the National Gallery of Art implements an open access policy for digital images of works of art that the Gallery believes to be in the public domain.

Digital Public Library of America The Digital Public Library of Americabrings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world.

NYPL – The New York Public Library Digital Collections Archive

Flickr CC – Creative Commons on Flickr.

Gif Cities – Internet Archive

 

We will share the completed digital collage pieces here on the NET-ART Website!

Add your published URL to the comments section below (feel free to make as many variations as you would like!)

The Transcendent Energy of Play in the Classroom

The Transcendent Energy of Play in the Classroom

This post coincides with my guest talk on Monday 5/3/21 with the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy course.

Welcome!

Many thanks to Luke & Lisa, and the ITP students for having me!

I thought that writing a blog post here would be both timely and fun for this talk. It might be full of typos, those happen, haha, they can always be fixed 🙂 This post serves as an example and a potential to create and expand the overall synopsis, dialog, resources, feelings, philosophies and of course necessary contextual links! I hope through our interaction both here and during our talk that it will inspire you to create a playful, collaborative project for yourself, for this class that you are in, for the ones that you are teaching, and also with me here on the Net Art site! This is an inclusive, accessible and safe public space for all.

After our talk, be sure to scroll down to the “Reflections & further Pondering” part at the bottom of this post to share your thoughts. No pressure of course 🙂

 

Words like “playfulness, play and fun” are and have always been an essential parts of my teaching and learning practice. I directly extract the physical energy and emotions that these words activate with in me. I visually connect those feelings to bright sunshine. I connect playfulness to an overall lighthearted and open demeanor that can be applied to almost anything. It’s reflective to childhood and the wonders of learning, creativity and intuition. Playfulness is such a great form of expression as a medium. It sets an open invitation to access rapport. We can help each other learn this way, it is a passion of mine and Im not going to stop anytime soon 🙂

 

"communication" fingerspelled in American sign language

(Above – “Communication” – finger-spelled hand-shapes in American Sign Language)

Everything comes down to Communication. We all want to be loved, appreciated, heard, understood and included. I believe that this is our greatest life’s work, to learn how to best and fully communicate from the inner knowingness of who we are. Of course this is a journey through our constant growth of challenging our life experiences and how we reflect on them. Communication is our birthright and we all must tell our own story.

 

And then.. the Internet shows up..

 

Links for Context and Usefulness

(Feel free to use, remix, hack and expand upon anything here)

 

The Story / About the Net-Art website, Creativity & Experimental Pedagogy

NET-ART’s Rolling OPEN-CALL for Submissions

 

Graphic Design Workshop at the GC 2019

Rebirth of the Course Syllabus, The Visual Aesthetic – Part 1

How to Write your MFA thesis in Fine Art & Beyond – Commons Paper

Why Should I make a Portfolio?

The Net Art Course Lightning Talk

 

Cross CUNY Campus Zine Collab with the NYPL

Cross CUNY, Galluadet & Touro Zine Collab

Collabs with MBS

 

Check out this semesters undergrad course website flow:

CT101 – Digital storytelling – (commons)

MMA 100 Foundation of Graphic Design – (openlab)

 

Animated gif of a landscape passing through the interior space..

For more Ryan Seslow on the web – ryanseslow.com

I make a lot of GIFs, Check out my work on Giphy here

Communicating my Deaf & Hard of Hearing Self – The Online Exhibition

@ryanseslow – on twitter & instagram

 

Reflections & further Pondering:

In the comments section below, please leave your general reflections on this talk and the content presented.

What stands out?

What are the main take aways from this experience that you can implement and take action on right away?

What things do you struggle with as a student, educator and contributor to the world of education? 

Feel free to share links, and other relatedness.

 

Thank You so much!

 

 

 

 

An Agent of Accountability – A Digital Storytelling Prompt

An Agent of Accountability – A Digital Storytelling Prompt

*Assignment prompt – Create and apply digital imagery to exercise, express and extend a metaphor 

(this post is my example)

 

<begin-transmission>

An agent has manifested from with-in you. You are fully responsible for creating and bringing the agent forward. You might not understand what that means just yet, but you will. The agent is made out pixels and rasters. Each pixel is recordable and programable. They each hold a unique series of your emotions, behaviors, interactions and potentials. The agent lives completely on screen and is co-dependent on your device usage and screen time. You thought that you could hide behind the screen, potentially conceal your identity, remain anonymous, and a mystery… but the agent knows otherwise. The agent is here for accountability.

The journey begins from here.. please scroll down.

This image above was seemingly the first recorded visual iteration of the Agent. It’s meta data has been corrupted and continues to be untraceable.. there is also evidence of the original file reconfiguring itself by single characters just to jam the reading/extraction or processing of the information for testing.

A visualization was created above to show “how” the agent entered the Internet grid. The simulation suggests that it was through an open port glitch. This is a vast statement as the range of “open ports” are extremely infinite as uploads and software updates take place around the clock, server to server, port to port. There is an unproven theory that agents can and do enter the grid from simple plug-in updates via the open-source platform, WordPress..

The image above is the most current image that continues to manifest in multiple places. Although there continue to be iterations, much like the two images below that were discovered in late April, 2021. The origin of the iterations are still speculative and only educated guess’s continue to surface with little to no real science based data as to why. What do the iterations represent? Why are they needed? Are they metaphors for pressing / avoided inner demons and issues? Are they there to continue to remind us that we are in a loop? We will continue to follow the process and keep you updated..

<transmission- snip>