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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!

 

Linear Expansions, A Continuum of Line & Form

“Linear Expansions, A Continuum of Line & Form”, 2021, Work in Progress, A Cut Paper Wall Relief.

Im excited to share the progress and process of this new series of paper cut-outs. The forms are arranged directly onto the brick wall in my studio and live there as the piece builds a little more each day. 

Everything starts out as a drawing in my world.. mostly. I suppose thats because its where I got started with art making. Above, we see just a series of smooth and gestural intuitive lines. Im always both surprised and excited by the infinite outcome of what the lines will do. I never draw the exact same character twice. There is always another iteration to explore and become surprised by. The paper cut out at the top of this post is in progress and has thoroughly been inspired by this series of drawings created last week. I cut them out and arranged them on my wall to create a “narrative”. This also serves as an example for my Illustration & Design students this semester. I hope they like it!

 

The drawings above are a result of this process in the video above. I finally started sharing some of these videos on social media… These kinds of drawings happen in immediacy. Fast, intuitive lines that form each character. They are all different yet unified by their stylized lines. But why stop there, I began to think about process and creating gauge and layers. What happens if I cut some of these forms out? And so it went..

It all starts out like this. Start to extract the drawing by flattening it into fragments. Im using a think bristol paper as my paper source. (Strathmore) the surface is smooth a durable. But alas, it is paper and paper is temperature sensitive, so over time it does buckle and curl. I find that this actually helps though, see the process below

(Sorry for the blurry pict above -Ill reshoot this!) I then lay out a flat variation of my cut out forms in layers, very much as one would use layers when using adobe photoshop or illustrator. This is the analog version, and it is a lot of fun to do. The application onto a flat surface is next. Im working kind of large on this piece to see how the scale holds up, I will make a few small pieces too. 

Here is the first character that was applied to the wall. The forms are adhered to the wall using several loops of thick gorilla brand duct tape. The duct tape works well because it can be “stacked” and it is strong enough to hold the weight of the paper as I layer it. Keep this in mind as the further that your pieces layer and come off of the surface of the wall, they may begin to show the effects of gravity :)) – the process continues!

Process – Here is the progress with the second character created and applied to the wall.

Here you can see the beginning of the third character as well as the reference drawings before they were moved to make room for the next characters.

I work a little bit each day. I enjoy the process so much so I tend to work slow to savor the journey. I also enjoy sitting back and looking at the piece as it grows as it gives me a lot of new ideas. Of course, the next adventure will be to make the characters free standing and able to support themselves in the round. 3D is inevitable both as a physical sculpture and a 3D model in a digital space. 

As of today, 2/17/21 this is where Im at in terms of progress. Should I add more smaller pieces and fragments as scale contrasting details? What am I missing? Lets hear some feedback!

Note – YES, I plan to work in this style with other more permanent materials. I would love to see a series of these placed into public space, would be sweet to see a series inside the nyc subway stations 🙂

Metaphoric Narratives with the Nature of Nature

Metaphoric Narratives with the Nature of Nature

2020/2021 Digital Illustration

Aaaaand we are back with another series of digital art works and a bit of a “how to” process post. Forgive me for the title of this blog post.. At first, I wasn’t sure if this was going to be an assignment tutorial of some kind, or just an over-sharing process and rambling session. It will serve as all of the above. Ok, so, lets face it, we all love photoshop. We all love the pen-tool and the ability to cut, create, apply and remix images with our graphic assets. Yes? Of course! OK OK, Ill get down to brass tacks already.. In this series I wanted to create and play with some fictional characters and also displace them into my everyday surroundings. It is in this process of being experimental that new narratives seem to poke at and guide us. Lets jump in. Of course I am sharing this process from the perspective of my own art making but also will use the steps to illustrate a class assignment for my foundation design and digital storytelling students. The ability to create well balanced and compelling compositions is skill set that is fun to cultivate and it never gets old. “Let’s always be practicing”, practicing  the ability to compose and create while mastering the dimensions of our picture plane. (that academic jargon…)

 

The gang is all here.. This example shares an integration of characters and the ability to use repetition, duplicates and scale (plus those shadows…). I love walking past the Brooklyn Museum in my neighborhood. I love the building itself and wanted to use it as one of the locations for this new “situation” to occur..

 

This image was taken outside of the Brooklyn Public Library, it shares a series of imagery and the application of a character. Our hero has found itself as a part of public advertisement. Perhaps this is fictional? OK, it is, but think about how your everyday surroundings may offer an opportunity for you to intervene, hack, displace and re-contextualize things. There is beauty in the seemingly banal or redundant, and what I mean by this is our everyday surroundings. We have the power to transform and transcend them. Visual imagery and image-making is a fun way to participate and also see the world in a new way.

 

By default, your friends are going to show up! Another example of repetition, composition and scale variation. Does this illustration tell a more compelling story than the image above it? Are the additional plants needed? What do they add to the composition and story? What is their intention here? Will they expand and take over? Well…

 

Above, is the original image that I took at Prospect Park that inspired the entirety of this series. (Im back tracking the narrative of this post a bit… just like in the Film “Pulp Fiction”… haha, not exactly but Im thinking about that..) The algae was really think and particularly a warmer value of saturated green than I recalled from most visits to this spot. It was also late July and pretty warm outside. Sometimes all it takes is one experience, story or image that causes the creativity trigger. After I took the picture I immediately reflected upon a memory of the 1980s film “Swamp Thing”.. are you old enough to remember that movie? Lol, I was just a kid when it came out but I loved it! So, I got inspired, fast! The image below was the first iteration beyond the “normal” picture that I took. But there is more to this puzzle below..

 

Sooo, you recognize the image below.. that is where the plant came from. Its one of the 5 plants (and growing) that I take care of..(its much bigger now as I write this a few months later too). Im illustrating all of this to help give you a bit of insight into the immediate and very intuitive thinking and creation process that I go through. I like the immediacy of using my own surrounds and digital image captures. This can all be so easily synced with other forms of media found in the public domain or via other creative commons resources. Plus, I experience the process as a muscle, it wants to be exercised, nurtured and practiced. It wants to grow!

 

I brought the image into photoshop and used the pen tool to cut it out. Once I had it free as an asset I started constructing my character. The figure was extracted from a painting found in the MET Museums Digital Open Access Image Archive of public domain works. There is a lot of good stuff there!

 

OK, so this fellow is NOT exactly “Swamp Thing” but it certainly expressed that energy and inspired the flow of the illustrations. I animated this guy below and also added it as a sticker on Instagram. If you use Instagram Stories, under the GIF search option you can put in my name (ryan seslow) and find this guy below… use it at will! There are some some others there too 🙂

Well, one idea leads to another and I kept going.. this is another character and asset above. The static image wanted to be added to a narrative and that narrative became a looping animated GIF. Its a short surreal story, and it was fun to make…

 

The Assignment Details:

Simply: Using this post as your inspiration, dig into your intuition and creative impulses and create a fun hybrid character that you can interject or displace into a narrative using your familiar surrounds.

Have fun and be sure to share your work here!

Paper, Light, Shadow & Storytelling Part 3

Welcome back! Part 3!

Lets make a “free-standing” variation of this project that works “in the round”. 

This post is part 3 of 5 parts from the Paper, Light & Storytelling Project.

*Be sure to read Part 1 first – go HERE

*and don’t miss Part 2 – go Here

*then jump to Part 5 (trust me!) – go HERE

The short video below is a series of snippets taken from various aspects of the project that will help you technically.

 

Let cut out some pieces, parts, shapes and fragments to compose with. Yes, they are “planes” again, but rather than working on the wall in a relief format, lets create a free standing composition that functions on table surface. As you can see in the video above, leave space at the base of each form so that you can bend and curl it over to create a right angle. This angle will allow for the piece(s) to free stand as you glue them down.

 

If you follow my examples above and below, notice that “spacial distance” plays a role in how the pieces create entrance ways for light and shadow to play a role. Working with forms that are cut in various heights and widths will also play a role in the overall visual aesthetic.

 

Below, you can see an example of how you can create “an environment” for your piece to exist in. Perhaps this give a bit more context to the design itself? In this case, I have simply created a gallery simulation by adhering 2 pieces of thick paper together and placing an additional piece on the table surface.

 

A thicker type of paper works best for this, Im using bristol paper above (11″ x 14″ inches) The nice part about this idea is that you can now use the viewfinder of your capturing device to “crop” the forms into the “gallery” as you take photos of the piece as a whole. See below.

 

Here is the composition of vertical forms glued down onto the surface of the table, and placed into the gallery simulation. The image directly below is a bird’s eye perspective with the natural light in the room hitting the piece. My ambition is to share the space and spaces between each free standing form.

 

In this example Im using the same light sources from the previous 3 tutorials (links above). Im a big fan of using light sources to create shadows, effects, filters and moods. These flashlight light sources can also layer over each other and create secondary colors. 

 

a series of colorful flashlights with their lights turned on

The next series of images below are a mixture of my light source set up, process and final outcomes. Please share your feedback and work via URL in the comments section below! Feel free to hack and remix this assignment and its guidelines. 

 

Paper, Light, Shadow & Storytelling Part 5

Welcome to Paper, Light, Shadow & Storytelling Part 5! Lets make a musical instrument of sorts? Above, you can see my final outcome. I temporarily adhered the artwork to the wall using duct tape. This is a quick fix to apply the art to the wall and take a series of photos. The image above is using natural light from the mid-point of the afternoon coming from the window to the left of it. The piece above places an emphasis on new variation of our last tutorial as we learn how to create variations of height between each individual plane. The individual pieces are layered and composed fro the surface of the table upwards.

Hold up! Did you miss Part 1 & 2 of this tutorial series? See below (Yes I jumped ahead to part 5 here – part 3 & 4 are on the way too!)

Part 2 – https://netart.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2020/07/23/paper-light-shadow-storytelling-part-2/

Part 1 – https://netart.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2020/07/16/paper-light-shadow-storytelling/

Artistic references? Lets do some research: What artists, historically over time have worked with similar processes by composing with planes and or flat 2D forms, and the use of light?

Anthony Caro, Faith Ringgold, Alexander Calder, Kara Walker, Isamu Noguchi, Naum Gabo, Diane Smith & James Turell to name a few. Who did you discover in your research?

Lets continue and take a look below..

 

As I mentioned, Im referencing a guitar in my minds eye. Or perhaps a mixture of various stringed instruments. I want to make it abstract but also visible enough for the viewer to know it is referenced from a musical instrument. The tools and materials needed are above, with the exception of some cardboard shown below. Im using bristol paper for this piece. It is strong and durable, you will notice how much more structural it is than regular printing paper. Using my x-acto knife I cut out a series of shapes and forms. You can see the basic shape of the guitar’s body above. I cut it in half and cut out a few more forms that had a gesture to either the form of the instrument plus some of the actions used in actually playing the instrument. I know, that part is much more subjective to interpret, plus Im Deaf so it may be different for how you make this interpretation. That is the beauty of art though!

 

Next, we will need some cardboard. You can take apart a box that you received from ordering something online, or perhaps snag it from your household. Local business usually recycle a lot of cardboard too, take a look and you will most likely find some cardboard quickly. Start cutting pieces into “strips” like the two pieces on the right side of the image above. Then, begin to cut those strips into small squares. About 1 inch per square will do! The small pieces do not need to be perfect squares but should be similar in size as we will be layering them to create “height & gauge”. (Remember, that x-acto knife blade is very sharp, please be careful while cutting).

 

Cut out a whole bunch of pieces and then get your glue stick ready as we will layer / stack them into multiples of 2, 3 & 4. This will give you some visible examples of how to build your planes (the pre-cut paper pieces above). Glue the squares by adding glue to both side of how they will stack, see below.

 

Also below is an example of the pieces glued together and stacked. The idea is to create subtle variations in the height of your pieces. This will help create shadows when you hand the piece vertically on the wall.

 

Next, as in the image below, start placing your stacked squares into strategic spots so that they will support the individual structure of the pieces / planes that you cut out. Play with the compositions, you can test place your pieces before gluing them down, I like to take photos of the arrangements before I glue them, it helps me “see” other potentials.

 

The image below is to display how the pieces visually create their variations in height. If you make the pieces too high they may become too heavy to support their weight adhered to the piece as a whole. Keep things subtle and close to the surface, it helps and a little bit of gauge goes a long way.

 

The final outcome is below! I have an old painted fireplace made of bricks in my apartment. It is a great background for this piece as the mix of texture and clean smooth paper seem to compliment each other. Play around with the environments to adhere your work. I plan to add some colorful lights to the art work when it gets darker tonight. I like this piece so much, it has inspired me to push the series forward. Perhaps I will add a figure playing the instrument? Im excited to see your outcomes!

 

 

Paper, Light, Shadow & Storytelling Part 2

This post is part 2 of the Paper, Light & Storytelling Project – be sure to read Part 1 first 🙂 – go HERE

Welcome to Part 2! Lets add some compelling light to our piece. After cutting and organizing your pieces onto the wall lets talk about options for how they can become radiant, dramatic and full of emotion. Color plays a role in how we connect to feelings, emotions and temperature. So, how did I capture all of these images? What kind of light source did I apply?

Scroll down below and lets see..

 

a series of colorful flashlights with their lights turned on

I found these little flashlights on amazon.com. Its a 4-pack consisting of a red, blue, green and white light set. It was $20.00 well spent. The lights are really powerful and the beauty of working with the primary colors is that you can layer them and make secondary colors. (example – layer red and blue together and you will “make” purple). Here is the link to that set.

 

Next, “how” did I set this all up? My next purchase was this flexible table clamp for smart phones. I’m a teacher, and lately, I have been doing a lot of remote and online teaching (as you know) so this was an essential tool to add to my arsenal of techniques. The link to the armature is here. This was $22.00, and again, it was well worth it. Im making a ton of tutorials these days so.. Please note, you do not need to purchase any of these items to capture your work or apply light sources. In fact, I encourage you to be experimental and try out variations with natural light, the filters that come with the “editing” feature on your phones, and to push the limits of the lighting that you have access to. For example, taking a lamp shade off one of your household lamps and pointing it at the sculpture.. Or using the flashlight feature on an old smart phone, or a flashlight from a friends phone. Friends and family become collaborators this way! Most smartphones also have a timer so that they can set up their shot and let the phone do the work. Tripods really can help.

 

Above, I not set my iPhone into the armature and set the timer for 10 seconds. Those 10 seconds give me time to play with the positioning of the flashlights as they project their light onto the wall. Above, I layered the green and blue flashlights for this capture. I held the green light in my hand and set the blue light up propped on a stack of napkins pointed from the right side of the wall. The distance of the light sources play a role, so have fun with that!

 

This capture displays the use of the white flashlight coming from the right hand side of the wall. I was relatively close to the wall and set the timer on my iPhone for 10 seconds held on the armature tripod. It is a little over exposed but I like how it brings the texture out of the wall and the gradient of the paper as it appears to diminish.

 

I removed “one paper element” from this image above, which was an intention of altering the composition subtly, can you tell?

 

This capture is slightly fuzzy and blurry. This is an example of me holding both the red and blue flashlight and layering the light on top of each other. If you are mixing paint, red and blue will make a value of purple. I had turned off the background lights to maximize the capture. I really like the effect, and wonder if this would “look” more 3D if I have 3D glasses.. which I think I do…somewhere, in some closet..

 

This image has simply been turned 180 degrees. Does it help the composition work in another way? Do you like it better this way or as you see below? The images below are also variations with over exposures and contrast tweaking using the filters on my iPhone. Have fun and share your work!

 

Paper, Light, Shadow & Storytelling – Lets make a Paper Sculpture.

an ephemeral paper sculpture photographed in black and white

How-to make an Ephemeral Paper Sculpture.. from Home!

Here is a fun tutorial that you can follow along with (from home) through this post. This blog post is both the assignment and the example for how you may choose to create and publish your own work. This is part 1 of the process for the creation aspect of things, I will publish a “Part 2” with another tutorial for creatively pushing the documenting of the art work in a few ways. Feel free of course to improvise with any additional materials or hack the whole project to expand your own examples and storytelling. The goal is to publish your process and narrative into a compelling sequence of events!

*Please e-mail a selection of your best final images to rseslow@york.cuny.edu – a collaborative image gallery will reside on this website.

Paper, Light, Shadow & Storytelling – Lets make a Paper Sculpture.

First, the essence of the project is to create and investigate 3D form through storytelling. The form(s) that we make will serve as the content for your blog post. Lets put an emphasis on making a “subjective form”. We can get great practice in by narrating and detailing our steps. We can do this with some pretty common household materials too. Lets jump in! Grab some standard typing/printing paper, tape, a glue stick, a pair of scissors, a wall or table top surface and an external light source (flashlight). Let’s ask ourselves: “self, what are the potentials of form using paper, shadow and light by generating “a new forms” into existence through our creative immediacy? In my example below Im using a relief application by adhering my pieces to the wall, but you can also work on another flat plane if you wish. Keep the word “perspective” in mind as the documentation process plays a big role later on. 

As we scroll below the images will begin to “paint a picture” of the process but we can help it along and make it more compelling by the “way” that we assert the process. Adding your personality and sense of humor is certainly one option. We can also apply accessibility and inclusion by adding text to support the images. We can do this both below the image and placed into the “alt-text” area when we “edit” the image itself. 

Notice, Im using a simple shape, a circle, and Im altering its height by applying scale variations to my individual pieces. Subtle variations go a long way. So do multiple units of one single shape. Oh, and photography plays a big role in capturing your work in progress and the final outcomes as the sculpture itself is ephemeral… or is it?

Artist references – What artists work with or have worked with paper? 

Li Hongbo, Felix Semper, Elsa Mora, Kara Walker (and many more, what did you discover?)

Jump in! (Im going to project some fun colorful light sources on this same piece once it gets dark tonight).

Have fun and be sure to publish your post here on the Commons – add your URL here in the comments section below!

*PS –*Please e-mail a selection of your best final images to rseslow@york.cuny.edu – a collaborative image gallery will reside on this website.

*Part 2 will also publish on this blog soon!

Gather your materials - image of a cutting mat (cardboard also works) transparent tape, a glue stick(bond version), a pair of scissors, an X-Acto knife and some regular printing paper.

  1. Gather your materials – a cutting mat (cardboard also works) transparent tape, a glue stick(bond version), a pair of scissors, an X-Acto knife and some regular printing paper.

Image sharing how to cut your paper into strips (as many as you would like, but think of at least 10 or more) using the X-Acto knife or the scissors, apply the glue stick to the edge of one side of the strip that you have cut

2. Cut your paper into strips (as many as you would like, but think of at least 10 or more) using the X-Acto knife or the scissors, apply the glue stick to the edge of one side of the strip that you have cut.

Image showing how to carefully fold over the paper and apply pressure to the edge as it meets the glue. Hold in place for a few seconds.

3. Carefully fold over the paper and apply pressure to the edge as it meets the glue. Hold in place for a few seconds.

Image shows the Cut strip of transparent tape and from it into a loop. (you will be repeating this process)

4. Cut a strip of your transparent tape and from it into a loop. (you will be repeating this process)

image of one of the circular forms cut from paper

5. Once the circular form is ready, place the loop of transparent tape to the same side where you joined the two ends of your paper.

an image of the tape applied to the form - and repeat the process as needed to start composing your fragments.

6. Apply the tape and repeat the process as needed to start composing your fragments.

This is an image example of the various individual pieces that I cut out and glued together - they consist of various heights and diameters, this is called Scale and it created variation

7. This is an example of the various pieces that I cut out and glued together. Notice, they consist of various heights and diameters, this is called Scale and it creates variation.

Image shares the composing process by organizing and adhering your pieces. (Your first idea is NOT your only idea so play around with this a bit).

8. Begin the composing process by organizing and adhering your pieces. (Your first idea is NOT your only idea so play around with this a bit).

image shows the additive process - keep adding more pieces.

9. Add more pieces.

image shows the additive process - keep adding more pieces.

10. Keep Going!

image shows the additive process - keep adding more pieces.

11. Looking good, add more!

the final outcome image!

12. Finished! I used all of my pieces and took this image with the natural light that was present at the time.

the final outcome image with a dark lighting effect

13. You can certainly see that LIGHT plays a role in the enhancement of the mood and overall aesthetic… what will you do?

 

*OK if you made it this far, here is a teaser from the light projection captures! Coming soon!

an image of the paper sculpture with a purple light source projected onto the piece

 

Web Tools & Visual Presentation Options for Students!

 

Its that time of the semester again. Student Presentations!

The final week is upon us and it is time to present your semester’s worth of completed work. As New Media Art student’s there are so many opportunities at hand! The word “presentation” is a great word in and of itself. It is motivating, inspirational and energetic. Students will aspire to present their class projects in a new way that is impactful and complimentary to the work itself. You want to capture the full attention of your classmates, peers and colleagues and engage them with your visual display!

How will you do this?

Of course we have all seen powerpoint presentation after powerpoint presentation, over and over again. I suppose that you can always default to this platform……bo-ring. In 2018, I have witnessed, if the entire class is expected to present something using powerpoint, the class of viewers usually checks out by presentation number 3… defaulting to their own interests via their mobile devices, and asserting about 40-60% of their attention to the ongoing powerpoint presentations…

Again, how will re-consider this process?

Time and Attention are synonymous. Engagement and the ability to share usable value through out the presentation is a must. You can do this by creating a presentation format that no one else has seen before… 

Suggested platforms for presenting New Media Art works, Social Media!

Chances are, you are already deeply engaged in several social media platforms. Sharing fragments of your life, interests and also re-sharing what inspires you or gets you fired up! You most likely already have a working knowledge of how to use the applications and their tools. Some of you may already integrate your art work and creative projects into your feed of “life stuff”. Some of you may keep it separate. I personally use an 80/20 ratio of sharing my content. I’m transparent about my professional work as a graphic designer, a college art & design professor and an artist. This is a part of my personal brand. I like transparency and encourage you to also explore this.

However, if that does not seem like a good fit for you, you can easily create a new account on any one of these platforms below. You can easily upload your work and add commentary to each piece that gives a description of the project, the concept behind it, the medium used and any other relatedness that you wish. Using one or a hack using two or three as an integration, these platforms below make your work both individually accessible via a URL as well making you and your presentation easy to find on the Internet.

If you put the experimental work into this process it can easily become a wireframe for your new presentation and or online portfolio. Be a leader!

Suggested Social Media platforms:

Create an account specifically for your presentation.

Create an interesting title for your presentation!

Instagram Use the traditional feed to compose your static images and videos. Mov. and mp4 files will loop (like GIFs do) if they are 3 seconds or longer, a perfect solution for animated work. You may also use their stories option to generate “highlights” or curated works and archive projects specifically – (keep in mind that the stories feature uses a different aspect ratio that is vertical rather than the square format for the traditional feed.) Lots of options here! Instagram is a Mobile app, so all of the content needs to be generated through the app on your smart phone. Instagram makes it easy to link your other social media accounts and cross post content if you wish. The app can be downloaded from google play for android or the app store for apple iOS devices.

TumblrThough many say tumblr is dead, I disagree! Context is everything! Creating and using tumblr can be very effective for creating a great portfolio of specific works as well as a means of presentation! There are tons of free themes and it is an open source web platform. You can choose to use the mobile version by downloading the app or by signing up via the desktop platform. (I currently use the desktop platform over the mobile app) Tumblr makes it easy to add audio, video, images, gifs, urls, quotes and a chat feature. There are size restrictions and your content and they will have to be optimized to meet the rules.

TwitterTwitter is a powerful real-time and archived research and sharing tool (and so much more.) Twitter is now 280 characters per tweet. This forces tweets to be thoughtful, concise and objective! Its great for today’s small bite attentions spans! (We are all guilty!) Twitter is an under used platform for visual presentations but can easily be leveraged into one! Twitter will support images of all kinds, gifs, urls and more. There are size restrictions and your content will have to be optimized to meet the rules. A twitter presentation can be presented, archived and hosted via twitter in actual time via the app or desktop platform. Real-time commentary, discussion and sharing is a great added feature. I encourage you to test its potential!

LinkedInMostly used as business and business networking platform, LinkedIn recently added several new features that have made it more attractive to those who were once on the fence about signing up. Using LinkedIn may be more strategic than you think as you will have the ability to post your content in chronological order (much like any other feed of a content management systems would) as well as publish articles that function much like individual blog posts.

 

Suggested Free Website Building platforms:

WordPress and Wix both offer free versions of their website building platforms. They are easy to work with and offer some really great features! Creating website for your work is necessary, and if the time is allotted, why not make your presentation a website in and of itself!

WordPressWordPress.com

WixWix.com

Of course you can always do a traditional web search for “presentation tools” online and see what you discover.

In fact, please share your feedback and ideas, links, apps and otherness below in the comments section!

Mobile, Smart & Cell Phone Digital Art Making

Mobile, Smart & Cell Phone Digital Art Making

Its no secret that there is a ton of potential in mobile/smart phone art making. In fact, you might be a little late to the party! (Im kidding, its never to late to join in). There are literally tons and tons of apps that are both practical, fun and objective, however, I think that the true potential in the medium is hidden in the cross testing of multiple apps combined. After that, the beauty and further discovery is in synthesizing them together for your creative output. I know, that sounds ambitious, especially if you are new to the mobile/smart phone art making game.

The output may be a series of still frames that work together as a sequence or a series dedicated to a style that you create. The output may be a series of subtle animations in the form of GIFs or micro videos (Instagram will loop them for you today). These creative experiments can surely be created from your imagination, dreams and emotions. They can also be creative ways of visually painting a picture to illustrate your response to an editorial, a news feed thread, a scholarly article, an interview, and so on. I think you follow, yes? Either way, the use of visuals are more present than ever in almost all of the media that we consume. And do we consume it! This stretches from all forms of digital and static public advertising, news feeds upon news feeds and interactive media that is user based and customizable. This includes academic publications and pedagogy. Yes, thats right, if you think that academia wont be effected by the how the media and main stream advertising plays a roll in our shaping our psychology and lives, watch what happens over the next 2-3 years. Human attention has become a commodity and a currency. More on that soon!

This week (and forward) is about experimentation and redefining how you perceive your device and what its expressive potential is! Lets get acquainted with some of the apps by visiting the links below. Some apps as we know offer a free version for the sake of testing the app. There is quite a bit that can be done today with options to both take screen-shots of still images and also capture screen-recording for creating short animations. I have a few favorites for sure and have tested the apps listed below. Make purchases only at your discretion. Lets dig in.

Where will you post your experimentation? Instagram? Twitter? Facebook? Reddit? Flickr? Tumblr, Vero? Your personal website?

Or here on the Net-Art site on the Commons! We would love to have your work and the work of your students.

Would you like to craft a project for an online exhibition? Contact me here  – rseslow (at) york.cuny.edu

**You may want to free up some space on your device before you begin. Applications take up space, and so does the work that you will create.

Mobile Apps:

Glitche’ – glitche.com

to.be camera – to.be/camera

Giphy Cam – https://giphy.com/apps

Instagram – http://Instagram.com

VHS CAM – http://rarevision.com/vhscam

Assembly Design App – http://assemblyapp.co

ImgPlay – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/imgplay-gif-maker/id989843523?mt=8

Imaengine – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/imaengine-vector/id599309610?mt=8

Ultra-Pop

Ultra-Pop -Infinite

GifVid (simple tool to covert GIF to Video, Video to GIF on the phone)

Glitch Wizard

iColorama S rich featured image editor that maintains full resolution of images
Decim8 – Glitch
ImgPlay – Awesome GIF maker!
Back Eraser – Great to remove background areas and make layers.
GIF Maker Create GIFs from a sequence of still images from your photo library.
Building Resources from the Web – 
Here are some websites, artists & interviews dedicated to Art making via cell phones and mobile devices. They range from old and outdated to new and very cutting edge. We will build this resource as our class evolves.

Casey Kauffmann’s Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/uncannysfvalley/
Interview with Casey Kauffman

Karen Divine

https://www.newmuseum.org/exhibitions/view/first-look-brushes-1

Michael Manning

Feel free to leave a few comments below! Share anything you wish. Troubleshooting issues? Urls and links? Lets participate!