Category: Uncategorized

A Sketchbook Tour

A New Sketchbook Has Been Completed, Let’s Tour It!

Well, here we are in the summer of 2022!

Classes are now over, and its time to catch up on some “other-ness.” The category of “other-ness” can mean a lot of things for sure.. like redesigning this website and updating my brand and visual identity! But wait, there will be A LOT of procrastination in between that so I can DRAW, and PAINT, and DRAW some More! This new sketchbook was completed in the month of May 2022, its pretty much a “one drawing or collage per day” kind of gig. Yes, this all happened in between final exams, grading, my client work and life! 

Keeping a sketchbook is so helpful, let’s see why below..

Check out the video tour!

Feel free to pause the video and or revisit that images that you like the most.

I have been filling up sketchbooks since I am a little kid. I have well over 300 of them in my collection.. (OMG!) I use sketchbook’s as a vehicle of immediate expression, intuition and the of recording ideas! There is nothing more liberating than simply allowing myself to make an image! There is no judgement, it is not good or bad, I don’t seek to like it or dislike it, I just allow myself to spill out onto the paper and fill up the pages until they run out. I then repeat the process! 

Share your comments below!

Im going to incorporate this into a class collaboration assignment this coming fall semester!

Exploring Digital Art and Design on the Commons – A Workshop

“Exploring Digital Art and Design on the Commons: Techniques and Applications for the Classroom and Beyond”

Wednesday, May 11th 2022 – 11am – 12:30pm

Welcome!

This presentation is for the CUNY GC / Teaching & Learning Center’s Open & Digital Pedagogy Wednesday Workshops Series.

Hosted by Anthony Wheeler & Ryan Seslow

Welcome All!

This workshop will be conducted and archived from this blog post here on this website.

This website is chock full of resources so please dig in!

PS – This post will also receive a few updates from time to time as contrast creates more inspiration! I hope to share the recorded zoom workshop info as well (if possible)

This post is also a creative snippet and reflection of what is possible here on the commons. (Im a big fan!)

 

an abstract digital illustration consisting of many graphic assets

 

So, What is Digital Art? – via wikipedia

“Digital art is an artistic work or practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process. Since the 1960s, various names have been used to describe the process, including computer art and multimedia art. Digital art is itself placed under the larger umbrella term new media art.”

 

Some Digital Art History -> a timeline

A bit more here <–

and a bit more here as well <–

 

Questions to Ponder?

What is the creative potential of an image?

What is YOUR creative potential in relationship to an image or images that you feel connected to? 

How can intuitions, feelings, philosophies and or inspiration play a role in image-making?

You do NOT need permission to experiment with digital image making / digital art, so let’s get to it!

The academic commons is a perfect example of a platform (WordPress) that both supports and compliments image based content. File formats like .JPG or .PNG work well here! Let’s begin our reign of creative image-making and take over!! 

 

LETS MAKE SOME DIGITAL ART!

 

We will experiment with some great “Free to Use” Digital Tools:

Lets create a page using mmm.page  – https://mmm.page

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

 

Here is an example I made with mmm.page:

https://mmm.page/ryanseslow.main

 

*I pre-prepared a series of transparent 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 the shared folder link:

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

 

a surreal arrangement of objects and things placed into a situation..

 

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 America brings 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

The Noun Project –  “Graphic Icons for anything”

Open-Access – Digital Collection – The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Giphy – the web’s largest search engine for animated GIFs!

 

Web Browser and FREE Digital Tools to Work with:

mmm.page – https://mmm.page

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

Remove Image Background – https://www.remove.bg/

PIXLR – https://pixlr.com

Image Conversion Tool – https://convertio.co/

Vectorize an Image – https://vectorizer.com/

vectr – https://vectr.com

Glitcher – http://akx.github.io/glitch2/

Image Glitch Tool – https://snorpey.github.io/jpg-glitch/

Glitchatron – http://www.errozero.co.uk/glitchatron/#

Gimp – digital art making / photoshop-esque alternative – https://www.gimp.org

Trianglify Generator

Trianglify Generator 2 

 

Special Ops agents find themselves displaced into an art gallery

Useful Essays & How-To’s from this Website:

The Byproducts Poster of Twenty Twenty One

A Drama in Monotones, the tutorial..

Cut-N-Paste-Analog-N-Electronic-Ness

mmm.page Creative Awesomeness

Ink Jet Printer Print Remixing in the Studio

The Graphic Design for Websites, A 2019 Workshop

 

Please feel free to share your sentiments, questions and feedback in the comments section below! Let’s think of that space as a way to contribute to this post.

PS – Check out more on my website – ryanseslow.com or follow me on twitter or IG

Many thanks!

Caption-Less Abstraction, Another Statement..

Caption-Less Abstraction, Another Statement..

“Caption-Less Abstraction, Another Statement..” is new looping video art work by Ryan Seslow.

The piece is a visual statement, expression and commentary on the continued lack of accessibility and inclusion that Deaf and Hard of Hearing people experience. Often invited and or summoned to attend online meetings, seminars, talks and discussions only to once again discover that basic accessibility and inclusion in the form of closed captioning is not enabled or provided.. What do you think that these meeting experiences looks like for a person who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing? How do you think the experience feels for a person who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing?

This piece is WHAT it Looks Like. Want to know HOW it feels? Great, now watch the looping video for 20-30 minutes straight.

Let me know how you FEEL after in the comments section below, or post your response to me on twitter.

This art-work is about awareness, there is a story below..

“Caption-less Abstraction, Another Statement..” 2021, Looping Animated Video

This piece is also based on a recent experience where the “Host” of an online event invited me to participate in a group discussion via zoom. There we over 50 people in attendance.. I told the host in advance that I was Deaf and would require (and greatly appreciate) the enabling of the real-time closed captioning feature during the talk. I never got a response. I joined the meeting anyway and immediately noticed that captions were not available. I sent the host a DM, no response.. In American Sign Language I proceeded to sign “NO ACCESS” over a few times and eventually left..

 

“Caption-less Abstraction, Another Statement..” 2021, A still-frame from the pre-animation processing of the video (click the image to enlarge to full size)

This piece was recently added to the current exhibition: “Waking Accessibility Awareness”

https://www.ryanseslow.com/waking-accessibility-awareness/

The Byproducts Poster of Twenty Twenty One

a big poster of many many small illustration organized into visual order

“The Byproducts of Twenty Twenty One” 2021, Digital Illustration / Poster – (click the image to enlarge)

 

The Byproducts Poster of Twenty Twenty One..

(originally posted to ryanseslow.com but there is context here. Publishing this here will publicly hold me accountable to turn this into an assignment)

Wow, it’s the final day of December, and 2021 is coming to an end. This has certainly been a challenging year..

It’s that time of the year when I get very reflective about my work. This meditation puts a focus on my personal work as an artist, as a professor (just finished my 19.5 years) and as a designer solving various problems for my clients both ongoing and new. A lot has been completed this year. Im proud of my work and of this blog too (more on that soon)..

Behold below, the byproducts poster of 2021! I have been meaning to turn this idea into a class assignment for my intro graphic design and illustration students for a while now, it always seems to escape me writing up the specifications for the project.. Perhaps it’s because the project and exercise itself is so much fun that I I keep it to myself! Let’s change that this coming year! (see, accountable..)

“Byproducts”.. what do I mean by “byproducts”.. well, I see it as a “secondary thing” or results that have been created or generated as a result of another intention. It’s incidental. About 85% of the graphics in the poster below were created in 2021, the other 15% are iterations and extensions of existing graphics taken from the last few years. I have been making art and design consciously for over 35 years.. (omg). This duration in and of itself results in a large repository of “things and stuff” that has been created over those years. Im pretty meticulous at organizing things so its very easy to find files by context and year. I love the idea of having a digital repository of my work on hand. The beauty of this poster (in my opinion) is the display of “orderly chaos”. The composition building process is a challenge and a puzzle. A design problem created on purpose to find harmony and unity by arranging shape, form, color and scale. Byproducts in this context are the result of the “unused things” that were created for specific purposes but didn’t make the next or final cut on a project or concept’s decision making. It doesn’t mean that these things don’t have value. They certainly do, and I love re-contextualizing them. Im giving these things utility by applying them as a promotional poster. A consolidated image of variety, aesthetics, styles and visual candy. A nice representation of how much I love to work this way and the work I love to make. 

The more time I spend looking at this iteration the more I realize I can add to it, or how I can re-compose it. I said it was a “poster” but we all know by now that it could be so much more. Imagine how this would look installed as a large wall piece applied into a clean white walled gallery? Hmmm.. 

When I posted this on a few of my social media profiles I immediately received inquiries if the piece would be minted as an NFT, or if the piece would be available as a physical print? I love all of these ideas and will let them dance in my mind for a few more days.

Happy 2022!

Creative Fun for the NEW Commons Website!

A Happy New Year to You and Yours!

Welcome to the Spring Semester, 2022!

Allow me to introduce my first post of the new year: “Creative Fun for the NEW Commons Website!”

That’s right, the commons has launched its long awaited update! Its awesome!

Have you checked it out yet? This post is a good place to start if you haven’t. Its very informative and helpful. Not to mention down right inspiring, (you will recognize some of the GIFs and Illustrations, wink wink wink..) I’m always excited to talk about the commons! Im lucky to be a sub-committee member, thats right, I signed up, got hooked, and now they cant get rid of me, and my GIFS!

Lets have some fun talking about the new site and the commons itself, shall we?

But wait, can this blog post be used as pedagogy? Can it be a class assignment example in disguise? Does a blog post have the ability to tell a story? A compelling one… hmmm, lets see..

I’m here to serve, share, learn, revise, connect, contribute, participate and evolve in this wonderful open-source space. I have been teaching a series of my CUNY classes between BMCC and York College via the commons for many years now, I have also created the open-source course from which you are reading this blog post. The fact is, the commons is a brilliant space that is awaiting your energy. It’s a free invitation to break free of anything default (like those prehistoric departmental templates!) Its time to tap into your “highest-creative-pedagogical-self”, (that’s right, that’s a thing now) and let that light been seen here.

There are so many ways to approach this!

Building a course website, portfolio or creating a group on the commons offers many options, and there is so much context to explore.. What do you want to create or experiment with? What would you like share, archive, organize, facilitate or help with? That’s just a starting a point of course. When I first started generating content here I created this site “The NET-Art Site” for fun as an example of the “ideal course” that I would “one day” love to teach… I’m very serious. It is not an actual 3 credit course at BMCC or York college, but it has become something so much more as both of those courses benefit from and contribute to the content. It’s an OPEN resource full of use-value in context to all of my teaching. Its worth way more than 3 credits, I mean, its like 100,000 teaching-karma-credits that gets legacy attached to it! (as sinister music drones into the background…. Im kidding, but then again..) What I’m trying to share is, I simply jumped in. I started making and sharing, creating opportunities and reaching out to others. Things took off and quickly began to shape just by starting and not worrying about how it would be received. The commons community supported it 1000%! Since then, we have collaborated with the NYPL and several other campuses on various projects, including workshops at the GC on graphic design & “play in the classroom” )and a cross-college collab with Gallaudet University.

As the new site was being built, especially in the final stages, I asked if I could help and contribute by making some visual promotional items. I kind of solidified my presence with the subcommittee as an artist and a rouge “GIF maker”.. well, ok, maybe I’m not that rouge but I love to make GIFS! Either way, it all started on a website here on the commons. I was riding the coat tails of my buddy and mentor MBS, who is the one who introduced me to the commons in the first place!  I was hooked right away! This was back in 1977! (which was really 2010-ish but in 2022 year consciousness it feels that long ago!) Anyway, sheesh, I offered to help bring some of the new branding imagery and items to life. A perfect opportunity to contribute and also use the content for pedagogy. Thats right, this blog post becomes yet another example of the potential of how the commons can be used. As well as the potential to share how things can always expand as we place our energy into it. I teach Digital Storytelling at York College. (I love the course so much!) A large portion of the course work is creating a digital identity, learning how to blog and challenge the creative potentials of what a blog post can be. Can it be a vehicle for change, self-expression, self-transformation, activism, empathy, teaching, learning, compassion and creativity all at once? CT-101 students will surely find out as soon as they read this!

Well? Are you not enjoying this? Make a list of words that come to mind, take action and leave them in the comments section below, I’d be happy to help you get started if you need or want that kind of a push. 

Lets give the whole commons team a big big round of applause! I have to say, they really nailed it! The new website is beautiful. Do you remember the old site? I mean, I do miss it a lil, its nostalgia, and all of the late 1990’s feels of those underground style blogs (kidding, kidding, kinda!) I really love the rebranding here. The new site has solved a lot of UX/UI and accessibility issues very effectively. The lighter color palette and integration of clean icons, page formatting, sections, and those light gestural lines makes one’s arrival to the site welcoming and inviting. It helps the visitor navigate effortlessly to where they want go, which may be intentional right away, but it also provokes exploration. I’m excited for my new students to get started this semester! What do you like most about the new site?

I hope that you are enjoying the GIFs and Illustrations as you read through this post. The post is getting a bit wordy and Im known to go off on tangents… stop me! My ambition was to induce some retro-feelings and imagery as metaphors to show the lineage of our Internet experiences. I started teaching college in 2002! I’m at my twenty year mark and this is my 40th semester teaching. (What!?) I actually had that flip phone used above in the illustration, as well as showing course content with slide projectors and VHS tapes! I had to represent VHS! As much as I love all things modern tech, I miss those analog days, and the clunky hardware that came along with it. I know that our friends at Reclaim Hosting agree! The beauty of technology is its ability to unite and connect us through access and inclusiveness. The new site works great on mobile devices now too! The commons has helped me find and meet so many other like minded people doing such cool things. The pandemic slowed the “IRL” experiences but the digital connections strengthened, our overall reach extended and our friendships prevailed. So, in essence the art works are about connection, togetherness and our collective awareness..

 

Thanks for reading along and checking it out!

Feel free to get in touch and say hello! Im easy to find here on the commons as well as on the web!

Twitter is good too!

If you are looking for some creative inspiration, dig into this site and see what you “stumble upon”.

The Legacy & Preservation of an Original Idea

“The Legacy & Preservation of an Original Idea”

2021, Digital Illustration & Animated GIF by Ryan Seslow

A series of two new art-works, 1 animated and 1 static.. its time for a another reactive / reflective writing assignment. Let us view and reflect upon the art work below. The artist has left us with his intention about the work, but does that “add up” for you? What do you see? Let’s first break down the objective aspects of the images and then move on to the subjective and less formal meaning, shall we?

1. The Legacy – The Forever Animated Loop of the Ego..

2. The Preserved – The Forever Static Preservation of the Ego..

The concept of the artwork is derived from our ego-centric human thinking..  

We all want to believe that our individual “ideas” are original, unique and new.. We want to leave a legacy here on this planet.. and we want to make this happen over and over again. We want to believe that we are unique but also a part of the oneness of this world. We grapple with this, especially as artists. Deep down, we know the truth, that all ideas are built by an energetic collective continuum of the creative human potential.. everything is a remix. This series aims to capture the illusion of this statement as a single idea, contained and persevered both static and looped, living on forever..

 

 

  1. Above: (click the image to enlarge)The Legacy & Preservation of an Original Idea, The Legacy, 2021, Animated GIF

 

2. Above: (click the image to enlarge) The Legacy & Preservation of an Original Idea,The Preserved, 2021, Digital Illustration

 

Cut-N-Paste-Analog-N-Electronic-Ness

A new post on process reflection through blogging.

The best teacher I have ever known is the “inner-one” that allows a time for reflection as it wiggles through its narrative from the inside outward.

Here is my take and example.

 

December, late 2021

Back at it. The saga continues. I want to make images, always.. Which is really saying I want to communicate better, or just more, or in new ways. Sometimes the communication is purely fictional. Sometimes the communication is out of frustration because I cant find the words at the moment. Or, sometimes it’s an other worldliness that is using me as a “tool” to make itself known. Either way, it’s a practice and methodology of my expression of “the-self”. My feeling towards art making has always been: “make something and then further extend what has been generated”. I always want to see how that “something” can be taken further. If I make a drawing, I will eventually want to make a painting based on the drawing (sometimes it’s with paint and sometimes the paint is with pixels). After I make the painting it may become the background for the original drawing I made, but the drawing has now been scanned and digitally manipulated. That digital image will get tweaked and revised and also expand. I will then print it, I love old school ink-jet printers and the aesthetic they can produce. Im a “cut-N-paste” lover too, so making collage based works is a must. 

Above, this is a pretty regular perspective I find myself gazing at. Many pieces, parts, fragments and clips awaiting their deployment. I like to see things both on screen and off screen. Printed matter still holds my attention. Its a form of nostalgia and a time-machine into my childhood where art making was always a part of my world. It never stopped and Im sure it wont as long as Im on the planet. Im sure it will continue even when Im off of the planet too, haha.

I suppose, Im always seeking to communicate some form of a “situation or circumstance” in my work. As if “something” was occurring at the moment and the viewer was able to peek in and hit the pause button to freeze the frame of that “something”. I do make quite a bit of animation work too, but that was the natural progression over time as a medium. Plus the tools are so much more accessible today. I never forgot the basics of what I have learned from two-dimensional design in high school. Figure / ground. Foreground, middle-ground and background.. I placed a border around this piece above, perhaps that clean boarder makes the image as a whole seem a bit more important.. or it just emphasizes the moment. The fragments above were not yet glued down, I lay them out and look at them for a while before I make them seemingly permanent. I always take a digital image.. always!

Im really happy with this piece above. The perfect tension between the subjective and the representational. A moment of passing memories, elusive and most likely not even accurate. A portal out of reality and into the imagination. I like to linger there. The image is made from a series of digital photographs and hand drawn illustrations that were manipulated digitally and the full cut-n-paste treatment at its best.. This piece is currently still untitled, for now.. I will surely scan it and bring it back into the digital arena again.

(this piece above is available as a 3/3 edition here – https://hicetnunc.art/objkt/375773 (or click the image)

Ah ha, well, the image above this one was derived from this one! A combination of a manipulated data bent images layered with several glitch renderings. Cut, layered, pasted and cut and pasted again. What works for me the most is the hand cut lines that are visible by their contours. You can see that this was printed and then cut out with a pair of scissors. The lines are not straight, we can only get that perfect line from a ruler and an x-acto knife.. I have no need for making anything “perfect” in such an imperfect world. 

Format change. A horizontal layout variation to switch it up a bit. This piece uses the same process as stated above. It has not yet been glued down and made permanent.. but is that even necessary with digital tools like photoshop? A good question to ponder and what does that mean in the future?

And then, oh yes, the ink-jet bleeding experiments! Did you know about it? Well well well, look at who’s attention just focused in! If you print on matte paper with an ink-jet printer you can use a soft brush and water and create some very cool looking bleeding aesthetics! Im a big fan of this piece! This is surely a subjective and abstract art work, but it still followed the same steps and process as I shared from the beginning. Im going to print some larger scale variations of this, and perhaps have one framed.

I decided to get a bit more formal here in my presentation and laid down a few of these pieces. Sometimes it helps to get the gallery perspective and see one’s work “up on the wall”. The vertical perspective is helpful. Of course these pieces would look better in a more traditional frame, and its this exact exercise that helps me make those decisions. Below, are a few close up versions of each piece. Obviously there is more to come. Thanks for reading!

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 it Down – Class Exercise

a colorful image of a subjective landscape from another world

Until You Write it 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