All posts by Ryan Seslow

About Ryan Seslow

Ryan Seslow is an artist, graphic designer & professor of Art & Design living and working in NYC. Working in a variety of mediums Seslow shows his work both on and off of the Internet. As a professor of art & design he is teaching various graduate and undergraduate courses simultaneously between 4 colleges in NYC.

Manifesto Style to Artist Statement

Last week in class we discussed and shared our Manifestos!

We discussed the writing process and technique and how it can be applied to writing an Artist Statement.

*This week MFA students will be having their mid-term critique (but all MA students are are also being asked to apply this technique to submitting an Artist Statement this week as well)

The writing approach we used for our Manifesto encourages the use of making a list of statements to communicate and express ourselves publicly. In the coming week each student will be creating and completing an outline for their research papers, and for some, their final thesis.

Between now and Tuesday 10/16, please begin writing your Artist Statement by generating a list of 15-20 (or more) individual short statements in the form of a list (just like your manifesto). Publish your statement in the comments section below.

**Put your emphasis on the most current body of your work. This should be something that you have been working on for at least the last 2 months. 

Questions and format to focus on as you generate the statement: (but you are not bound to)

1. Description – Describe the concept and idea around the body of work that you will be discussing. Be clear and objective, you need not tell your whole life story here. By creating a list, you will illustrate the many fragments of your thought process. Don’t worry about editing or making things perfect, just list. What is the work about? What are you communicating and why?

2. Process, Materials and Methods – Here you will a list and discuss the descriptions of your working processes, techniques learned and applied, and the materials used to generate the art that you have created. Why have you selected these specific materials and techniques to communicate your ideas for this body of work? How do these choices effect how the viewer will receive your work? Have you personalized a technique in a new way? How so? Were their limitations and new discoveries?

3. Resources and References – Historical and cultural referencing, artists, art movements, databases, and any other form of related influence. How has your research influenced your work, ideas, and decision-making process? What contrasts and contradictions have you discovered about your work and ideas? How has research and exposure during your last few weeks inspired this body of work? Have you made direct and specific connections to an art movement or a series of artists? Explain your discoveries and how you came to those conclusions.

By engaging this assignment from the fresh perspective of writing a manifesto you will open another pathway to generate a new outcome. 

After the list generating exercise, if you wish, you can then convert your list into sentences and paragraphs for the sake of a more traditional formation – but this is up to you.


PS – those Interested in submitting to the F.I.L.E exhibition should express interest this week in class –

Week of 10/9 – Class Info


10/9 – Simulating our Thesis / Research paper writing template, model and inspiration for formatting. In class discussion on the writing process.

1. Personal Manifesto – In class Discussion / Student examples – (This should now be posted onto our class blog.)

2. MFA Thesis Updated info – Art Dept submission date, guidelines & MFA Handbook.

3. Banksy at Sothebys – In class discussion and examination of the event, how it is shared and what this means for future artists – (please examine the articles below outside of class)

MFA Thesis Submission – Updated Requirements

All MFA Students:

Please be advised that the submission deadline for all MFA students graduating in May of 2019 has been recently updated via the Art Dept.

All graduating MFA students must submit their Thesis proposal by December 7th 2018. The paper will be submitted to Professor Seung Lee.


Updated Thesis guidelines below are taken from the MFA Student Handbook.

(You can download a PDF copy of the handbook here)


The Thesis Proposal is written in the “Art 550; Art Criticism for Artists” class.

The instructor will detail the requirements for this paper, which will be submitted by the end of the fall semester prior to the student’s Thesis show in the spring.

In brief, a Thesis Proposal should detail:

  • The Creative concept within the work
  • The Technical aspects of the work
  • The Exhibition, as the student plans to present it

The proposal MUST have a title, and it should be 5-10 typewritten pages.

Students will select two full-time studio faculty members to be their Thesis Committee members whose purpose is to review the student’s Thesis Proposals at the end of the fall semester.  The Committee members must sign a Thesis Committee Form to prove that they have read the essay and are working with the student on their Thesis Proposal.  This Thesis Committee Form will act as a cover page for the Thesis paper.  Again, the Paper and Form will be turned in by the end of the semester prior to the student’s last semester. The Proposal will be kept on file with the student’s permanent record.


*Leave a comment of question below for further clarity, or contact me via e-mail or bring your questions to class to discuss.

Week of 10/2 – Manifestos & More

Part 1 – The Artist Manifesto – Why is it important?

Assignment: Students will generate experimental manifestos outside of class this week and post them below before our next class. (Share yours in the comments section below. You may want to write it out in a word processor first and then paste your input below.)

Remember, manifestos are public statements, posting yours here will suffice as public space.

According to : “a manifesto is written statement that describes the policies, goals, and opinions of a person or group” This is usually made public to hold one to their statements.”

Examples to look at for contrast & inspiration-

Manifestos for Art, Life & Business :

DADA – 1918 –

Video Links:

(The second above video is by Andrew Castrucci who taught at LIU in the art dept. for several years between 2000-2009. )

Feel free to also share any links that you discover in your own research into this topic. the more examples and contrast we build the better. We will discuss our finding in class.

Part 2 – This week in class we will screen  Remix and Reuse Fairness – “Andy Baio is a software developer for Kickstarter writes and speaks about his experience being sued by a photographer and is forced to settle and pay thousands of dollars.

Class discussion follows

ART550 Week of 9/25/18

1. Interview Questions – Last week, we heard from top contemporary artists like Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Mariko Mori, James Turrel, Kara Walker & Marina Ambromovic via a series of video interviews and artist talks. (The blog post is here, did you respond?) Let’s consider, what would you ask any of these artists if you had the opportunity to sit down with them for 1 hour? Each student should generate at least 5 questions. You can write this by hand or type it out, and we will discuss in class – maybe after, you want to blog about it or share it on social media? The process is wide open.

2. MFA/MA Thesis Writing Guide discussion – Please read the essay and respond in the form of a comment on the How to Write Your MFA thesis in Fine Art essay on my blog. Please comment directly on the blog post itself. Go here -> –

3. The Artist Manifesto / Personal Statement. Why is this important? We will examine the manifestos of several diverse artists over a historical timeline. Generating new a Technique, Process & Execution.

Artist Interviews :: Top Contemporary Artists? Or Are They?

Continuing forward with our discussion, what does it mean to be an artist? (in 2018) – Below, I have organized several interviews/ talks taken from various time periods with some of today’s top contemporary artists.

Several of the interviews below will be screened and discussed in class on 9/18/18.

*In the comments section below, please leave your sentiments about what you have observed.

1. Does one artist stand out to you? If so, describe why?

2. Do you see and hear more similarities or contrasts between the artists? What are they?

3. Do you have a favorite artist that you have heard speak in a recent interview or talk? Feel free to paste links into the comments section as well.


Video with Damien Hirst-

“I just thought, ‘What can you pit against death?”[1]

‘For the Love of God’, a platinum skull set with diamonds, is one of Hirst’s most important and widely recognised works. Its raw materials define it as an artwork of unprecedented scale. The 32 platinum plates making up ‘For the Love of God’ are set with 8,601 VVS to flawless set diamonds, weighing a massive 1,106 carats. The teeth inserted into the jaw are real and belong to the original skull.

The skull from which ‘For the Love of God’ was cast, was purchased from a London taxidermist and subsequently subjected to intensive bioarchaeological analysis and radiocarbon dating. This research revealed it dated from around 1720 – 1810, and was likely to be that of a 35-year-old man of European/Mediterranean ancestry. The title originates from exclamations Hirst’s mother would make on hearing plans for new works when he was starting out as an artist. As he explains: “She used to say, ‘For the love of God, what are you going to do next!’”

‘For the Love of God’ acts as a reminder that our existence on earth is transient. Hirst combined the imagery of classic memento mori with inspiration drawn from Aztec skulls and the Mexican love of decoration and attitude towards death. He explains of death: “You don’t like it, so you disguise it or you decorate it to make it look like something bearable – to such an extent that it becomes something else.”[2]

The incorporation of the large central stone was inspired by memories of the comic ‘2000 AD’, which Hirst used to read as a child. He relates how the comic, “used to have a character in it called Tharg the Mighty who had a circle on his forehead. He was like a kind of powerful, God-like figure who controlled the universe,” Hirst explains. “It kind of just looked like it needed something. A third eye; a connection to Jesus and his dad.”[3]

Alongside their dazzling brilliance and “Eucharistic” beauty, Hirst’s fascination with diamonds results partly from the mutterings and uncertainty surrounding their inherent worth. In the face of the industry’s ability to establish their irreplaceable value, it becomes necessary to question whether they are “just a bit of glass, with accumulated metaphorical significance? Or [whether they] are genuine objects of supreme beauty connected with life.”[4] The cutthroat nature of the diamond industry, and the capitalist society which supports it, is central to the work’s concept. Hirst explains that the stones “bring out the best and the worst in people […] people kill for diamonds, they kill each other”.[5]


1. Damien Hirst –

2. Jeff Koons –

3. Kara Walker – Domino Sugar Factory Interview – 

4. Marina Ambramovic –

5. James Turrell –

6. Mariko Mori –

What Does it Mean to be an Artist in 2018?

Welcome ART 550 Students!

Our first class met onTuesday September 11th, it was great to meet you all!

Please leave your feelings & sentiments below in the comments section below. After you post your comment I will manually approve it. (don’t get worried if it does not show up right away, it will!)

Assignment #1 simply asks you to reflect and state:

What Does it Mean to be an Artist in 2018?



**Don’t forget to sign up!! This blog is the main way that I will communicate with the class as a whole. Simply add your e-mail address and verify your subscription. You will be receiving an e-mail each time there is a new publication to the blog.

Welcome to ART 550 Fall 2018!

Welcome ART 550 Students!

Our first class is tonight, Tuesday September 11th, it is great to meet you all!

This blog is one of our main formats of communication and learning. You will be receiving an e-mail each time there is a new publication to the blog. Reacting and responding regularly for currently enrolled students is mandatory. Alumni and those who have already taken the course are encouraged to participate and share with us!

Between now and this coming Tuesday, I would love for you to take a peek at our class schedule again – it is located here. <— thats a hyperlink, you will see a lot of these on our blog in the future.

I would also like for you to leave a comment below describing your impressions of our first class. Also, are there things that you would like to focus on during our class, feel free to share those things as well.

Thanks so much!

Final Student Presentation Info

Beginning tomorrow Tuesday 12/5 at 5pm we will have our first 4 students giving their oral and visual presentations of currents works generated from this past semester (or from the summer before as well). We already have our 4 volunteers ready.

Next week, Tuesday 12/12 at 5 pm will be the second group of 4 students giving their presentations.

The presentations are an opportunity for each student to put their work into a visual platform to share and discuss. You may share as many images or actual works as you desire. I will encourage the class to ask questions and create a dialog around each students works.

Tuesday 12/12 is also our last and final meeting time.

*All final papers will be due no later than Tuesday 12/19 at 10PM

As I have mentioned throughout our the semester, I am always available to meet with anyone individually to discuss any questions that you may have regarding your work. I am available after each class and by appointment.

See you all Tuesday night.

ART550 – MA & MFA Thesis / Personal Research Paper Examples


Below are 2 great examples:  The first is an the MA Thesis written from the post thesis exhibition perspective, and the second one is a first semester MFA reflective / research paper in progress.

Both papers are great examples and follow the template that we spoke about during the first part of our semester, you can refresh your memory on that format here.

Click the hyperlinks to view.

1. Meghan Hallock – MA Thesis, pre-graduation submission draft – Click Here – “Blue”

2. Leonard Altinori – MFA first semester research paper of works in progress – Click Here to Read

Feel free to leave comments and feedback below.