The Best of 2014

2014

The-Anxious-Guide

New Essay :: 11/10/14

“How to Write Your MFA Thesis in Fine Art (And Beyond)”

I really enjoy writing, and I find the process to be fun. Do you? I know that writing takes regular practice and it’s an essential part of my learning process. Writing helps me see and organize my thoughts. This allows me to edit and become clear about what it is I am expressing. Practicing writing helps me identify mistakes as well as further emphasize what I really want to explore and write about. When a topic of interest strikes me the process is effortless. I notice how I feel about the topic and this is a key factor as to how quickly I will get working on as essay, blog post or tutorial. This is something I have identified in myself over time and through repetition, how about you? Writing induces and activates new awareness. In my experiences as a college art professor, I have taken notice of a few consistent patterns when it comes to more formal writing. Especially a final thesis deadline. For some, the thought of generating a final graduate thesis can be a daunting thought in and of itself. Associated with that thought may be an outdated feeling that your body still remembers. This outdated association can be especially frustrating to the point of extreme procrastination. If you are unaware that you are the cause of this feeling then you will continue to perpetuate it. Sound familiar? If you choose to enroll into an MFA program you will be required to write a final thesis. This will be an in depth description of your concepts, process, references, discoveries, reflections and final analysis. The best part of writing a final thesis is that the writer gets to create, format, define and structure the entirety of it. Throw away any pre-conceived and or outdated perceptions of what you think you should do. You must take responsibility for your writing the same way that you discipline yourself in the creation and production of your art work.

Read the Whole Essay Here :: http://www.ryanseslow.com/YMgUl

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Self

Essay :: 10/7/14

“Self-Defining what you can still do with an MFA in Fine Art”

 The essay below was originally written and published in August of 2012.  I felt that writing this was my responsibility as an artist, art educator, and MFA advisor to many students. It was and continues to be the most read and shared post on my blog. The reason why? I feel that it gives my regular audience and far beyond that the most use value. I am re-publishing the original post here along with links to my newest project: “150 Ideas to Earn Income as an Artist & Graphic Designer.” The new e-book is an evolved fragment of this essay. It serves as a metaphor as well as an ongoing series of synchronicity based experiences.

The Read the Whole Essay here :: http://www.ryanseslow.com/pgHVg

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Kids2

Essay :: 9/28/14

“The Discovery of the Potential of Digital Art”

“The Discovery of the Potential of Digital Art” is the title of this new illustration as well as the title of this blog post. I feel that it fits both of these spots quite well. The image above was created fast. It was drawing on a simply piece of typing paper with a sharpie marker. It was then scanned and brought into adobe Illustrator for a live tracing. We now have ourselves a vector image with super smooth lines and edges ready for any scaling potential options.

Read the Whole Essay here :: http://www.ryanseslow.com/GxonM 

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Collage with Bucky

Essay :: 9/29/14

“Inspired by the New”

This image is a work of art. It consists of many fragments that make up the whole. I may even add a few more things to it. I would not call myself a “collage artist” simply because arranging forms and shapes into a composition does not fully define that title. In today’s world, do artists really need titles other than, artist? I know, for marketing sake we can’t spread ourselves too thin…blah blah blah. Is yesterdays marketing still todays marketing reality for artists? And what was that again, oh the default method. When is the last time you really thought about how you promote your work to yourself? Not the world, but to YOURSELF first. Are you clear on that? Can you write that out easily and effortlessly? No? Then we have some work to do. This is good work to do, gaining clarity is a process, oh yes, it does take time. What if the whole outside world is really inside of YOU, and your self-definitions and perceptions project outwardly into the world as you know it? Hmm…. expansive thought aye? Today is a good day to plant some seeds. How about you are the artist that you say you are. You may have a great passion for painting or sculpture, but the process that leads you to the final result has many more steps, actions and experiences than just one title can define. I believe that we humans are in a great flux, a revolution of the self-identity in relationship to the larger world is slowly getting smaller and smaller. Electronic devices surely are. Do you see a relationship there? A metaphor?

Read the Whole Essay here  :: http://www.ryanseslow.com/J4pFJ

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The Nativity New

New Essay :: 9/15/14

“Drawing, The Nativity Revisited”

This past week has been one of the most creatively diverse in terms of commissioned works & projects. I am grateful for this in and of itself. I wanted to share this new particular project with you all. I am not religious but I do consider myself very much connected to spirituality. I have spoken about this lately more and more on this blog. It seems like metaphoric synchronicity continues to find me. More on that later. About a year ago I was approached by a Church in the south expressing that they had found and used one of my drawings. It was a black and white illustration of The Last Supper. They converted the image into individual tiles and had the congregation’s children color in the image. They were all unique and diverse, a perfect representation of life. They put all of the pieces back together to re-unify the drawing. It was beautiful. They asked of my permission to allow for affiliated pastors to also use the drawing for the same exercise with some of their congregation’s children.  Fast forward a year. This time I have been commissioned by the church to generate my interpretation of The Nativity using the same style of simple lines. They will color it in and then place the tiles back together again to re-unify the original drawing just as before. The large piece will be mounted on wood, framed and displayed in the Church for the holidays each year. The original black and white drawing will also permanently have a home in the Church. I was so excited about the project that I added my own color rendition (above.)

Read the Whole Essay here :: http://www.ryanseslow.com/SQ4Mw

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Wiped-Away-small

New Essay :: 9/8/14

“Do You Really Really Really Want to be a Famous Artist?”

You want to be a famous artist? Are you sure? I used to think that I wanted to be a famous artist. I have been an artist for as long as I know that I am me. This awareness took place around four years of age. Over 35 plus years have gone by and I am still an artist. I don’t have any plans on changing that, in fact I love being an artist. I made most of my earliest friends through drawing cartoon portraits of them. They would laugh and giggle and take them home. Some of those people have saved those drawings for over 30 years. I still like to draw my friends and even strangers. I still love how this makes me feel when they react. As a kid, slowly but surely I became known as the class artist, the title followed me through high school, and then I went to art school for multiple degrees. I even went on to become an art professor. Teaching art at the college level brings me great joy. Up and until about 10 years ago reaching fame as an artist was a destination that I was set on. I thought it was very important. The funny thing is, I couldn’t tell you why that was. How could this be? Is it possible to harbor an idea inside of yourself for many many years only to realize later that you really have no idea why you want something so badly? I came to understand that this thought and idea was a part of my earliest concept of what it meant to be an artist and I never questioned it. I simply did not have the awareness back then. I was a kid. I take responsibility for this misconception gladly. When I did sit down to give this some serious thought, and I did this only because the “fame” I was after was not showing up. I certainly had plenty of good work, (yes, I really like my own work) a consistent high volume production, strong work ethic and a nice growing network of artist friends, colleagues, enthusiasts and collectors. Yet, something was not right. Believe it or not, I decided to meditate on this. Thats right, I said meditate.

Read the whole post here :: http://www.ryanseslow.com/bhXA9

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Degenerated Digital process Experiment

Essay :: 9/8/14

“Self Re-Defining Photography”

In a recent blog post I talked about re-defining my relationship to the medium of photography and integrating more of it into my work. I have been thinking, what better way to do that than to make a 1 year commitment to a project. I will shoot a series of pictures each week, choose and edit the most interesting ones, write something about each of them, and post them onto my blog for the year to see how they build. I am proposing to post a minimum of at least one photo per week (I am going for quality here) but if it happens more than that, so be it. The intention is to define and understand how and why I am shooting the subjects that I choose, and what each image “means.” I am interested in discovering and communicating my visual world by recording fragments from daily life. I may be setting up fictional props and installations to accompany this. All of the images will be shot and captured in a digital image format. I choose to create a new process for how I plan to later show the works as they exceed this blog and my social media profiles. This project has far exceeded my original intention and continues! I do not have any plans to slow it down.

Read the Whole Essay here :: http://www.ryanseslow.com/CjWl6

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Essay :: 9/2/14

“150 Income Generating Ideas That Artists Can Use. Creating New Habits on Purpose.”

It is now day #29 of my 30-day experiment to create a positive new habit. Much more than this has happened and I am really excited about it.

I originally set this goal; “Over the course of the next 30 days I commit to sit down each day and generate and record 5 new ideas on how artists and graphic designers can earn income from their current and secondary skills. My intention is to dispel a limiting outdated belief that earning money as an artist or graphic designer is difficult. I also intend to develop the ability to see and create more opportunities while sharing use value with my fellow human beings.”

Notice that I have included my fellow human beings into this process. As an art professor I get asked a lot questions from my students, colleagues and friends along these lines, “How can I earn money with my art skills? What if I am not going to be an art teacher, can I still find work as an artist?” Or “Where do I start on creating a freelance business with my design skills?” A few days after the 30th day of my commitment to this goal I will release the whole exercise technique/process that you can apply and the 150 income generating ideas as a downloadable e-book. It is my intention to release the book via here on my website, amazon.com and on ibooks. I will keep you posted on this!

 Read the whole essay here – http://www.ryanseslow.com/P2Fqt

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SLOW-fun

SLOW 2014, a cut out construction paper stop motion animation turned into a GIF.

Essay :: 8/13/14

“The Continued Transcendence of a Graffiti Tag”

I have been writing SLOW for over 20 years now. Like most graffiti writers, I enjoy working in a variety of styles. I developed a traditional bubble style to write my name and repeated the process until it became second nature. Over 20 years and the action itself still holds my interest and evokes the nostalgia of my early teen years when graffiti was brand new to me. All things in this world will evolve. They grow, synthesize, expand and pull themselves inside out to become something new. I am grateful to have this creative awareness and the continuous desire to transparently share my experiential opportunities. I’m still interested in participating and writing SLOW, and in 2014 SLOW wants to continue to grow.

Read the whole essay here :: http://wp.me/p2SFO-1Tp

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IMG_1971

Cement cast sculptures of outdated aerosol cans, July 2014.

Essay :: 7/17/14

“Metaphors in Public Space”

This is a guest post written for Vandalog.com on 7/14/14. View the original post here – https://blog.vandalog.com/2014/07/memorials-to-the-potential-energy-of-spray-paint-in-public-bathrooms/

At the age of 11 I fell in love with graffiti. It was the mid 1980’s in NYC and it was a great time to be a kid being shuttled back and forth from Manhattan to Brooklyn, Brooklyn to Queens, Queens to the Bronx, the Bronx to Staten Island, and Staten Island to Long Island. I had family in each borough, and I always loved those journeys for a lot more reasons now than I knew at the time. They were multi-sensory , stimulating inspirational portals of awareness. I became hyper aware of the art on the streets and I wanted to participate. At 12 years old I was far too scared to put the works directly onto the streets at the time, but I wanted to learn that style, and I began writing. Twenty five plus years later, the same energy still inspires my work, but an evolution has taken place. Its not just in my own work, the whole medium and context of graffiti as a subject has expanded. My new installation dictates to me how times have changed within my own public art practice as well as a metaphor for how graffiti is changing. Of course there are tons of amazing artists worldwide who have taken the traditional letter styles and characters to amazing new levels of style and execution. I will always be a fan and a lover of that form of graffiti, but I do see and have desires to communicate the evolution of graffiti as a subject itself.

Read the whole essay here :: http://wp.me/p2SFO-1Oq

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Test Print Studio Session

NEW Essay :: 5/5/14

“Draw, Paint, Print, Photograph & Animate”

Through out April of 2014 aside from various projects I have been engaged in experimenting with a new series of screen printed works. The image content itself is not new, it is in fact over 20 years old. The new works have an emphasis on how one single image or idea can continue to be transcended over time and through several new potentialities for execution. What does this suggest about the authenticity of the work? This is my ongoing process.

Read the whole essay here :: http://wp.me/p2SFO-1GV

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Minimal

Essay :: 3/28/14

“Unlimited Solutions through Metaphoric Awareness”

Sometimes we may find ourselves in life situations that may seem to have no immediate solutions, but when I examine and reflect a bit upon my everyday life, I seem to find quite the contrary. This semester officially concludes my 10th year of college level art teaching. I am blessed and grateful to have so much continued teaching opportunity simultaneously between the same 4 colleges and universities here in NY. On a mental level when I thought about this amount of time it induced a reflection session appointment with myself. As I looked through my calendar I began experiencing some thoughts. Through teaching at this level I have been given a platform to create new courses, develop curriculum, publish content, install and generate archival course blogs, experiment with new technologies, work with amazing people, share my passions and this list just grows and grows. Wow, a lot happens over the course of ten years. I could have never imagined what I would have learned and or experienced at this point when I signed up. But something else occurred to me in this thinking space. Each week I set aside a 30-minute appointment with myself to reflect upon my week. This is simply quite time. No music, internet, art making, phone calls or any other kind of distraction. It is an intentional meditation to just reflect and see what comes to me. Stillness = Clarity. Last week, I had a very interesting experience in my quite space as I thought about this. It even dictated that I apply a little bit of math. For the most part I teach between 8 and 9 courses each semester, and 3 or 4 over the summers. So that is about 21 courses per year on average. Most classes have between 12 and 23 students per course (most are over 15.) On average, lets say that I have about 336 students per year. Lets multiply 336 students per year x 10 years of teaching this way.

Read the Whole Essay Here :: http://wp.me/p2SFO-1Gm

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Essay :: 3/17/14

“Overcoming Self Adversity, What’s Stopping You?”

Spinning-Ear

(insert your own mental image here)

It’s a beautiful thing to realize that my biggest self-inflicted deficit has become the means for higher awareness and the next chapter of my life. Heck, even if I was the last one to realize it.

The discomfort of change has been brewing inside of me for some time now. A knowing-ness has finally brought me here. I have learned, sometimes the things that we feel are ruling our limitations, are simply the words and feelings that we have solidified as our truth only to hold us back for the amount of time we have decided to hide. This is the ego at its best. I can see the difference now.

Over the last four weeks I obtained a brand new set of high-powered digital hearing aids. I am completely co-dependent on them to hear all of the external sounds in the world. With out them, I pretty much hear nothing. That’s right, with out them, no sound. I am very lucky to be able to correct and cope with my hearing loss with hearing aids.

Read the whole essay here :: http://wp.me/p2SFO-1Cc

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Essay 2/28/14

“Cultivating Your Inner Art Collector”

CaNz

“The Animated Digitizing of Graffiti” 2014 GIF animation.

Im currently working on a public research project about how the value of an art work is generated by those who are non art makers as well how artists are reaching and finding new collectors. I see a nice steady trend of artists selling their work directly to interested collectors. I have also observed artists developing new marketing skills that are being applied to targeted audiences as well as cultivating their patrons. More and more art fairs are popping up as well as online platforms that make acquisitions accessible in 2-3 steps or less.

Read the whole essay here – http://wp.me/p2SFO-1DK

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Essay 2/5/14

“Generating GIFs for the Tate Britain”

Tate3 2

Combination of Sir William Quiller Orchardson, The First Cloud 1887, and 

David Cox, A Windy Day 1850.

The Tate Britain has asked the public to join in on a great collaborative project that will be exhibited on Friday, February 7th 2014. They want us to get to know the museum and the history of works that it makes accessible to us. We can always visit the museum in person, or even online, but this particular project gave us the opportunity to engage even further with the works. They asked us to animate them. That’s right, we had permission to choose from any of the works that are on view in the Tate’s 1840’s room. This is an exciting collection of paintings and sculptures. Perhaps as an artist you have a dream of having your work shown in a major museum? Well, this was a pretty nice and fun opportunity to join in on, and it altered the way I perceived how my own work may be shown in a major museum. If you don’t know what an animated GIF is, where have you been? Take a visit to Giphy.com and cruise the database, you will not be disappointed. You can view the Tate’s 1840’s works here – http://bit.ly/1jTihYK

Read the whole essay here – http://wp.me/p2SFO-1Ac

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Essay :: 1/6/14

“The GIF Collaboration Series with Jilly Ballistic”

Tate5JillyB

 I reached out to Jilly B this past summer of 2013 after discovering her work in NYC. I loved it. I followed up onto the web for more information and images, and loved her work even more. I teach an all street art and graffiti class at Long Island University, Post campus here in NY (check out this recent guest post I did on Vandalog.com –http://blog.vandalog.com/2013/07/teaching-graffiti-history-and-practice/ ) I wanted to meet Jilly and invite her to come in as a guest artist/lecturer for the course, so we met up in NYC. Before the meet up, I proposed that we also generate a collaborative project in the interim of things, this way we could write about it and also share it with our networks to get some feedback.

Read the whole essay here ::  http://wp.me/p2SFO-1xu

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Essay :: 1/2/14

“The Awareness of Happiness”

The-Movement-of-Form-II 2

Happy New Year!

I have learned that everything we want to be, do or have is directly connected to what feeling it will give us. That’s right, the feeling. Not what we “think” will happen to us once we obtain any “thing.” The feeling itself is a natural one, it is our happiness. In 2014, become aware of how you feel in relationship to the things you are aspiring to. Be aware that you can cultivate this inner feeling BEFORE that “thing” comes to be, in fact, this is precisely the way I believe things manifest. Much more to come on this.

Read the whole essay here :: http://wp.me/p2SFO-1pe

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short-link to this page :: http://www.ryanseslow.com/GtFML