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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!

Metrics of Time, Circa 2015 – 2021

Metrics of Time, Circa 2015 – 2021

A Reflection from 3D to JPEG..

Ryan Seslow / 2021

(This post was originally published on my personal website on 11/29/21 but I believes that it serves as an example that can benefit our Digital Storytelling community here across CUNY. Im a big fan of using art and art objects as “tools” for creative and reflective writing. Forgive me for the typos, Im still editing as I add to it!)

 

I have always been attracted to working with 3-dimensional objects and materials. Since Im a small child, “making objects” was a great way to express myself and exercise the imagination. As I reflect back (and keep that word “reflect” in mind), I always loved the idea of making hybrid objects. Mostly stacking and assembling things that seemed like they did not belong together. I was simply exploring form and the potentials of form. I loved it so much that I never stopped. I especially enjoyed exploring the subjective, the nature of materials and how they related to my understanding of “life”. We are pre-disposed and domesticated by the many many “objects and things” that we grow up with around us. All of which already have a specific name, title and function. We learn to call this “the objective reality”, where almost all things are representational. Until we intervene, if we do, it may be tricky to expand beyond it. For example, when you purchase and drink a bottle of water or a coffee from the local coffee shop, you quickly dispose of the empty “object” that you drank out of. You rarely stop to contemplate that the bottle or cup was simply a “form” first, and that the form has potential beyond its intended usage. Well, do you?

There is context here with the art-works below..

In the two pieces below I am using and applying the word “reflection” as a medium and a utility. This blog post itself, right now, here in November 2021 is a part of the art-work. “Reflection” in and of itself is a duration based task and action. It takes and requires “time” to reflect. The act of reflection is vast and rich in psychology. We can reflect upon something or someone via our thoughts for 1-2 seconds or we can reflect upon those same things for our entire lifetime.. The individual context is so specific to each person of course. We can also reflect by writing, which usually means “typing” now a days.. But alas, do we ever schedule an appointment with ourselves ahead of time to “reflect” on something, someone, a situation or a circumstance? Have you ever thought to do this yourself? When we reflect, is it possible to even retain and accurately relive the events, people or circumstances? Well, well now.. you may say no because we can only reflect on something that has “passed” and is no longer in the actual “now”. Or do we wish to believe our reflections as a story, experience, person or memory? Of course this too has context, especially for the dichotomies ranging from our great achievements to serious personal traumas, memorable birthday presents and or seemingly banal objects.. like a wall clock.. yes, a wall clock..

The two sculptures below are titled: “Metrics of Time” Version #1 & #2. Both artworks were created and completed in 2015. The medium is plaster (or known in some areas as “pottery plaster”) – which is a powder-like synthetic dust that turns from dust to a solid form when mixed with water as its catalyst and left to cure. I fell in love with making casts and molds somewhere around 1990 when I was a kid in High School. Mold making became even more interesting when I entered college (due to the super fun projects that we did) and it always stuck with me. The idea of being able to reproduce an existing object true to its original form (with out labels, logos and packaging) and with a variety of different casting materials was so attractive. Clean, smooth surfaced solid forms are beautiful! I frequently used plaster, cement, acrylic resin and water (that I would freeze into ice molds). Even more so, the ability to make a rare single edition mold positive or an army of multiple replicas was also so much artistic power (and I certainly made my share of multiples over the years!) At the time though, in those early years of mold making, I didn’t connect the super important role of photography to the works that were being generated. Especially works created with inexpensive and ephemeral materials like plaster. I was connecting the value of the art with the value of the materials. A big mistake! Plaster is cheap. Both in price and in its quality as a material as it will deteriorate, discolor, flake, diminish, chip and age poorly over time. But then again, this is also very very much like us humans. We are equally ephemeral. Time is also equally ephemeral. Especially in context to the awareness level of the living person that contemplates it. These pieces below share both the conscious passing of time and the ephemerality of all things physical in this biological life. All of this information above was nestled into an “object” that communicates “time”..

Above, “Metrics of Time” Version #1, 2015 – (JPEG File) – 1/1 Digital Photograph of a Now Destroyed Cast Plaster Assemblage

I destroyed both of these “physical” sculptures shortly after I created them in 2015. My intention was to complete the sculptures, photo document them and show them publicly as printed images nicely framed and mounted. Much like one would expect to see with traditional photography in an art gallery. But that never happened. Each time that I mocked up the idea, it just did not sit right with me aesthetically or emotionally. My bodies energy instantly changed when I placed the “images” of the sculptures up and onto the wall. (I had printed them myself with my printer in my studio at the time.) Busy with otherness, I decided to put the project on the back burner.. Fast forward to November 2021, where inventions like the blockchain, crypto-currencies and the minting, selling, trading and collecting of digital goods have become a huge fast growing market for artists and rare art works. Single edition digital art works have become extremely desirable in a format that we all know so well as both artists and regular Internet users, the JPEG. The JPEG, yet another communicator of time.

Back to the context. The sculptures were intentionally mounted and hung on the wall. They are inspired by and mimic a standard wall clock. It is an object that has always captured my attention. Im talking about the old fashioned one’s from the 1970’s that lingered around all public buildings and space for many years longer than they should have. As a child I thought they had magic powers that only adults could access and understand. I waited with great patience to also access that sorcery! Most of us are introduced to a wall “clock” via our homes and elementary school experiences. We always looked up at the clock to see when our classes would begin and end, day in and day out. As a kid, I could not wait for the school day to end, and now as a professor for 19 years, Im holding tightly to every minute of class hoping the time flows slowly. I look up at the clock and frown! At home we always looked up at the clock to see when it was time for dinner, time for a bath, time for bed and time for … fill in the blank.. Regardless of all of this, the numbers on those old clocks stayed static as they hugged the circular contour line of the shapes form. The circle, a perfect metaphor for the cyclical aspect of this life. Round and round we go. The clock’s two arms, one short and one long, move in unison with their tireless friend, the non-static seconds arm. Even when things finally began to be produced, embraced and displayed digitally in the “time” telling gadget industry, I stayed fixed on the old clock as a metaphoric object of transcendence, evolution and self-transformation.

Above, “Metrics of Time” Version #2, 2015 – (JPEG File) – 1/1 Digital Photograph of a Now Destroyed Cast Plaster Assemblage

Wait a second, what am I looking at here above? Both of the original cast pieces above were made and assembled from cast plaster fragments. To achieve the form of the old wall clocks that I describe, I used a plastic bucket that resembled the same diameter of the clocks. I filled it up about 1.5 inches and watched the plaster expand another 1/2 inch as it normally does. I let it cure and released the mold. Plaster rejects plastic once it is dry, making the release easy and seamless. Have you recognized what the grid like forms are that rest securely on top of the circular base form? They are keys from an old keyboard that I used between the years 2004 – 2010. Yes. I made a full 1-part mold of the old keyboard using a silicone  / polyurethane rubber mold making kit. I made the mold’s layers very thick so that it would be durable enough to hold any kind of volume that was poured into it as it cured. Much like my old experimenting days in undergraduate college, I made several casts of that old keyboard in plaster, cement, acrylic resin and frozen ice molds that melted away as they should.. In this case, when I poured the plaster into the mold I left each of the key areas shallow enough so that each key would easily be released individually. Once they were dry I arranged them into the two compositions that you see above. They were mounted down with epoxy to hold them in place. We can see two slightly different patterns in the alignment of the keys suggesting to the viewer an intentional meaning or functionality of the object as a whole. Perhaps suggesting that this object is an old relic from the future or the past of a parallel world.. either way, the keys are now functionless..

The context of the keyboard as a metric of time is also a metaphor. The act and action of “typing” has several functions and purposes. It falls into yet another dichotomy that ranges from one’s super personal intentional uses to the mundane and banal tasks we do day in and day out, but it still equates to a “thought to touch form of communication.” Our entire lifetime here on this planet is co-dependent on how we use, give and receive communication. All forms of communication take time.. many of us take it for granted. Two static objects were created to express and communicate an understanding of “time.” The objects were destroyed by its creator only to discover that they transform their energy into another form of “how” it can continue to communicate and transcend itself. The creation began from formless thought energy and into the generating of a 3-dimensional tangible form, only to be destroyed and re-introduced as a 2-dimensional form in the format of an image, the image has been placed online and agreed to be converted into hypertext and placed onto a web server..

The 2-dimensional images are now asking to be minted on the blockchain and re-introduced in the meta-verse as yet another form.

Stay tuned.

A Metaphor, A Reminder, An Assignment..

"A Metaphor, A Reminder", 2021, a Digital Illustration by ryan Seslow - A Metaphor, A Reminder is a new digital illustration that brings together an array of peculiar imagery. Most of which is very subjective - shapes, colors and forms layer over each other to display creative suchness.

“A Metaphor, A Reminder”, 2021, Digital Illustration

A Metaphor, A Reminder is a new digital illustration that brings together an array of peculiar imagery. Does it not?

What do you experience?

Are they logos? Icons? Glyphs? Pictograms? Symbols? A sheep in wolf’s clothing? 

Everyday is an opportunity to bring new shapes, forms and color combinations together. For what purpose, you may ask?Well, this might be an exercise, about the expressive power to evolve and transcend a something.. a metamorphoses..

Even if, some, or all of the new forms may be 100% subjective at first, they come from a “somewhere” and can be applied to a “here” and also to a “now”. We can fuse the whole process with emotion, creative energy, memories and positive vibrations. If we look and don’t create what will happen?

If we make and design and practice that everyday what will or may happen?

What can, only if, and or may, happen?

This world has made us all creators by default but we do know it?

What will you do next?

The Communication Game – Animated Video

The Communication Game – 2021 – Animation

Duration – 00:16 (set to loop), Size: 1080px X 720px

“The Communication Game” is a new animation by Ryan Seslow. Derived from an ongoing frustration with communication, accessibility and technology, the animation asserts itself through an overpopulated, heavily manufactured interface. Fragments of 3D models stiffly role-play as video game characters and jockey over each other in various scenes, situations and actions. The visual aesthetic is gritty, grainy and degenerated. The soundless video flows on a loop that creates a feeling of ongoing struggle as the viewer attempts to follow its chaos and understand what is being communicated..

 

In the comments section below generate a response that addresses your connection or disconnection to the animation.

What do you see? How does the animation affect you?

Can you relate to communication frustrations? If so, how and where?

Where do you see or experience this the most? 

 

2,500 Extra-Credit points will be given to all who respond and react!

 

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!