Tag: ryan seslow

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A Drama in Monotones, The Tutorial..

A Drama in Monotones, The Tutorial

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

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

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

 

“The Untitled Minimal Setting”, 2021 Digital Illustration

 

“The Untitled Minimal Setting II”, 2021 Digital Illustration

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

Next..

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Net-Art Exhibition: Waking Accessibility Awareness..

Waking Accessibility Awareness…

Works by Ryan Seslow – 2021

This new body of digital illustration, animated GIFs and animated video is a series of reactions and expressions that address the continued lack of Accessibility and Inclusion in our 2021 reality. The series is a continuum to my ongoing exhibition: “Communicating my Deaf & Hard of Hearing Self” – you can view that here. 

I know, the title itself might be making you feel uncomfortable. Thats good because it may activate some action and accountability, or at least a series of questions. Are you up for it? Are you someone who continues to make and publish video content online with out adding captions or adding a written description of some kind to support the audio in the video? Are you hosting video or audio only based meetings with out closed captions or a live transcriber? Are you one of those people who has a podcast and shares it as an “audio-only” piece of media? Hmm, do realize how many people are left out as a result of that lack of accessibility awareness? The sad part is, you or the company or organization that you work with may have an expanded audience and a following of 1K – 30K – 100,000K people (or more). You widely use, or are asked to use and support various digital tools with out ever questioning if those tools are inclusive and accessible for everyone to receive your content? Why is accessibility and inclusion an after-thought for you and what are you going to do about it? I know, you may say; “its not ill meaning, or maliciously intended”.. I do empathize and have a lot patience.. but Im still waiting, and waiting.. will you do something about this?

A part of me feels that this new body of work can and should be shared as its own exhibition. Even though it is an expansion of the body of works mentioned in the link above, this particular series has been created over the duration of the pandemic. It is another response to the continued fight for basic accessibility and inclusion for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. Each individual piece is an expression to a range of narratives that have played out. I am using looping animations as a medium to share this conceptually as a cycle that seems to never end. The works also display the dichotomy of responses that I have experienced from people through various online platforms. This ranges from caption-less video chats & meetings, e-mail, text messages and social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn & Instagram. As I write this I am both happy and angry. Happy for the small changes that some people / institutions have made via our communication about the awareness of accessibility / inclusion and how to facilitate it. But I am really angry at those who have taken a more “salty” and “dismissing” attitude and approach after being called out on their lack of accessibility and awareness of inclusion. Feeling angry is a good thing, it allows me to channel and exercise the anger, I have done that through these pieces below.

 

“No Captions, No Transcripts, No Access”, 2021 Digital Illustration

 

“The Accountability of One’s Reflection”, 2021 Animated GIF

 

“The Caption-less Podcaster” 2021, Animated GIF

 

“The Continued Clubhouse Accessibility After-Thought”, 2021, Animated GIF

 

“The Overstimulated & the Excluded”, 2021, Animated GIF

 

“Even the Word Patience gets Anxiety”, 2021, Animated GIF

 

“The Oblivious & Caption-less Zoom Hosts”, 2021, Animated GIF

 

“The Endless Vibrational Run for Access”, 2020, Animated GIF

 

“But He Can Speak, Are You Sure He Can’t Hear?”, 2020, Digital Still Frame Illustration

 

“All of My Access is Chaos”, 2020 (revised from a 2017 iteration), Animated GIF

 

“Masked Garble on Repeat”, 2021, Animated GIF

 

“Accessibility & Inclusion? It’s Not Our Fault!” 2021, Looped Animated Video

 

Please contact for availability – ryan (at) ryanseslow.com

An Agent of Accountability – A Digital Storytelling Prompt

An Agent of Accountability – A Digital Storytelling Prompt

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

(this post is my example)

 

<begin-transmission>

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

The journey begins from here.. please scroll down.

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

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

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

<transmission- snip>

Ink Jet Printer Print Remixing in the Studio

Ink Jet Printer Print Remixing in the Studio

Well, its April now..

Been at it again.. those tensions between wanting to make more digital art work versus making more analog based art work. Its weird to use the word “analog” instead of “applied” but I guess they are really similar. Allow me to elaborate. I always want to learn. Its an obsession and an addiction. Its a good addiction though, and the word addiction is probably over used in this context. I became aware that computers were a tool for making art as far back as 1986. The fact that I could learn to write a simple program that would visually display the action of repetition was all I needed to know, really. Well, and to see as well to understand “how” this new tool would help and forever change the way that art can be made and communicated. The word repetition is one of my favorite “principles” of art and design. The process of repetition can easily be displayed as a pattern, or a series of patterns, just like physical actions and behaviors can be observed and recorded as patterns. MEMEs are also patterns and have roots in psychology and behavior. So, do a little bit of math in your head and think about how this example effects you? Repetition in behavior eventually equates to practice. Sometimes this “practice” is totally intentional and we do it with awareness and other times, well, we unconsciously engage into the unconscious practice of behaviors that also equal patterns that may not be great for us.. but what about process based patterns of techniques?

 

The image above is a constructive, addition based relief sculpture made from found and recycled wood scraps. Each piece was found, accumulated, saved and later arranged into this composition (wood glue held it together at the time.) The image is taken from a bird’s eye view to help give the impression that the piece is flat (the bird’s eye view is me standing on the table with the camera.) The photo itself creates the overall two-dimensional impression.. (the actual sculpture has been dismantled and released back into the ongoing scrap bin graveyard of an ex-sculptors memories…) as I write this, I find it curious that I mainly documented the piece in this way. What did I for-see or know about this pieces legacy back then subconsciously? This is an image of the completed sculpture on the wood-shop studio table, before it was exhibited a few weeks later.

 

The actual sculpture was created in 2014, exhibited 1 time in public and then stored in my studio along with a few other similar works. OK, I actually made a ton of pieces in this similar process, style and technique, Ill dig them up soon again, and if you know my work, you can see where the latest paper sculptures come from. Lets face it, light and lighting plays a big role in the capture of images, and in this case, both images are not great examples of the sculpture in good light. But the placement and displacement of the piece hopefully helps the viewer to see some of the potential of where the idea evolved to and from. The piece looks very different against a plain white wall with a light source applied to it.

 

I rediscovered the 1st image recently (because I finally zipped, exported and downloaded my entire tumblr archives.. 3.9 Gigs worth..) and opened it in adobe photoshop. I got excited. I used the pen tool to create a series of paths that traced around the outside contour line of the sculpture’s form and image as a whole. I converted the paths into a selection and copied it and pasted it back into the original image as it own layer. I scaled it down by 60% and rotated the image 45 degrees counter clockwise. Wallah! This is the outcome above. I suppose it was the tinkering with this image that helped me see the potential of how I could extend my experiments with this piece, which now had become completely not only two-dimensional but also existing purely as a very flat digital file. The image above activated the energy, I knew I must take further action!

 

Above, the 2021 outcome! Well, #1 for now – I got really curious and began to see the potential of another tool, my old friend, the ink-jet printer! I dusted it off, thanked it for its trusted service and loaded it up with some glossy paper and began printing out the form that I cut out and re-mixed into the first image. I cut the image up into fragments and pieces of different scales and covered each piece with clear packing tape. I also left a stroke of white to contour each piece that I cut out, I think it helps! The tape, this was just in case I wanted to plant a few up in the street here in my neighborhood, which is always fun to do. The tape helps protect it for a while from the elements.. and also keep its form in tact. Plus, it gives the image the appearance of a sticker or decal. I made this arrangement above. The piece has some gauge too, it pops off of the surface of the wall at about 2.5 inches. The entire thing is adhered with thick gorilla duct tape on each piece. Duct tape is very temperature sensitive so when the temp in the room changes, things will shift and move a bit. I like how that fuses together with the fact that each piece is just printed paper with clear tape over it. The seemingly “cheap” medium tricks the eye into thinking this is something much more like wood, does it not?

 

Above you can see how the piece integrates itself into a few other works on my studio wall. The piece to the left is a figurative arrangement made in a similar way using bristol paper and duct tape and the portrait is a digital manipulation made from some data-bending techniques (that portrait image also has a layer of clear transparent packing tape on it.) I think that the clear tape actually adds another layer of saturation to the printed image. I think this picture helps give an impression of the overall scale of things too. Perhaps these pieces all kind of work well together too..?

 

This is a larger detail of the data-bent portrait. It contains several layers that have been manipulated in photoshop. I feel that it looks OK as a digital image on screen, but there is just something so nice about the over saturation feel of the ink jet print quality that just seems to help the overall aesthetic of this. Of course I am biased as the creator of it.. haha. Will this piece make the NFT cut? Perhaps? Lets see what it led to below.

 

The image above follows the same idea as the wood piece up at the top of this post. This is also an ink-jet print out that I cut up into fragments and covered in clear packing tape. I used loops of duct tape to hold the pieces and parts together onto the wall. It helps that wall is also made of painted brick and that its pretty old.. vintage aesthetics man.. When I first made this piece I felt that it was really missing something and or was just too busy for the eye to follow, but my IG peeps seemed to love it and also supported the piece as it was, and I don’t mind being wrong at all! I love it now, and its good to share where the original came from as this piece was purely digital at the start, made in 2017 and never printed or displayed off of a “screen”. See below.

 

The moral of this story, there is definitely a lot of value still in print, remixing and reviving older works. We have repositories of images from our own work.. Especially for works that are purely digital and for works that are purely applied. Seeing the work in the opposite context creates a good tension that will usually result in the making of new work! The work may surprise you more than you think! OK, so now Im off to make some 3D models of these for Virtual Reality :))))

Studio Musings & the Digital Versus the Analog!

Studio Musings & the Digital Versus the Analog – 2021, Studio Shot

Tensions are running high here at the Brooklyn studio again.. Im torn between the analog and digital, the “next new” and the “past nostalgia”! They say; “Reflect, Reflect You Must” and we do, and we default to the voice of Yoda, gladly, but then again, we must transcend, and we must go forward, we must go meta-forward! 

These are a few current experiments above and below, they are living together, side by side, getting to see each other’s perspective. They need each other, very much.

Change can happen faster when we face our own metaphors, I like the vulnerability!

 

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!

HNY! The First Post of 2021!

The First Post of 2021

Welcome to the first post of 2021, as well as the first body of new art works for the year. It all begins with a series of digital illustrations made from my own photography and Adobe Dimension. I have been meaning to dig into this application for about a year now so Im happy to start off 2021 with these new illustrations. They are surely surreal and “otherworldly” but the last 9 months is a reflection of just that, certainly surreal, isolating and otherworldly…and then-some. 2021 will be a year of deep investigation and experimenting with digital 3D design, 3D software and a jump further with 3D animation and motion graphics.

Im beyond excited! Hope you enjoy these first iterations, much more to come! Happy 2021!

 

“The Egg-Shaped Visitation”, 2021, Digital Illustration

 

“The Visitations”, 2021, Digital Illustration

 

“The Pill-Shaped Visitation”, 2021, Digital Illustration

 

“The Return of the Monolith Visitations”, 2021, Digital Illustration