BACK TO THE FUTURE
Steve Jobs' Promise
"I've always thought that after 600 years, Leonardo Da Vinci would be embarrassed to see artists still smearing the equivalent of squashed berries on crushed trees."
What have we been doing all this time?
Musicians have electric guitars, amplifiers, and digital studios that fit in their pockets. Craftsmen have power tools, chefs have food processors. Even gardeners have power mowers and weed eaters. But artists are expected to laboriously produce "masterpieces”, one at a time, alone in a secluded garret. They then nail it to a wall and hope someone gives them money.
Recently, I participated in a Plein-air painting event that involved carrying fifty pounds of paint, panels, brushes, and incidental hardware across town to a spot - where fighting the wind - I set everything up, sketched the rough, then dug out my paints - only to find that one of my primary colors had dried hard as rock in the Florida heat.
So, screw it! I hereby resign from antique media. It's time to get back to the future.
At art school, I studied, trained, and practiced the craft of making good pictures, and often sold my work. I've been an artist since I was eleven, it's what I'm good at.
Don't get me wrong, making lots of money-making pictures would be great.
But sitting alone in a studio smearing paint on fabric doesn't compare to the rush you get from playing guitar live in front of people, even when you're not that good at playing guitar.
Music is living, exciting, popular, and reproducible.
Art is moribund. Galleries are where art goes to die.
Music is a huge, important industry. People want to have sex with musicians. People want to give them money, drugs, and fame. At least that's what I've heard.
Sometime back in the last century, Apple Computer hired me as a regional marketing manager. It was a significant career move and an exciting upgrade for a struggling commercial artist and agency art director. I handled five states, hundreds of dealers, schools, and businesses. The best part though - was the education. Apple's training was decades ahead of what was then available at most colleges.
During the years I worked at Apple, I actually talked to Steve Jobs only once.
It was at the 1983 sales conference in Hawaii after we first saw the Macintosh. He sat down next to me at breakfast one morning.
You should know that the last thing you ever wanted was for Steve to notice you. Depending on his mood, it could mean the end of your career.
So after a moment of panic, I came up with the most important thing I could think to ask him;
"So when do I get a ball-point mouse?"
He took a bite of his croissant and said, "How about a graphics tablet with a pen?"
"That'll do for now…” I replied.
He smiled, picked up his stuff and went off to surf the other tables.
Well, it's been over thirty years and Apple has finally came out with the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro.
Thanks Steve, It's about time!