Monday, January 16, 2017

What Matters to Me

Art matters to me. This is not that I am good at painting; actually I am not. For me, art is the pursuit of beauty by means of self-expression. Writing novels is art, and great lyrics fit in here — Bob Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Composing music is art. Computer programming is also art. Mathematics is very definitely art. These share some characteristics in common. They all require solid imagination, solid skills to implement, and the perseverance and ebullience to push for perfection. Too, as a bonus, the resulting creations may deeply move us, as well as all subsequent progeny.

When I ran my business at a software startup in the online advertising industry, I always asked myself — “Is it artistic enough?” This might sound ludicrous and words such as unique, ethical, or honest could replace “artistic,” but I prefer that word because art is basically innate and not forced on us from the outside. In daily practice, I showed respect to all of our employees since they were the artisans producing our “beautiful” software products. I created internal workshops and hackathons, which elevated the employees’ morale and creativity. We tried to “move” both advertisers and Internet users rather than exploiting them so that our business could be sustainable. We also kept our source code well organized for future maintainers who might see it one year later.

Simplicity and purity are key factors, as I see it, for art to be art. I abhor exaggeration, plagiarism, and unproductive criticisms. I believe that God is indeed in the details. My work must be done thoroughly, carefully, and with love. Every aspect of my creations matter because I am an artist.