A number of media outlets are closely monitoring the artistic response by our community to the death of Steve Jobs.
For me, Steve Jobs is an icon. The John Lennon of our time. And while his wife and children, as well as Apple and Pixar, are the landmarks of his life, Steve Jobs encapsulates the core values that have inspired a generation, separate from the images put forth by his companies.
It is his iconography that we as a community should come together and try our hands at capturing. No small feat, but it is precisely what I'd like to see us do. The iconography of Steve Jobs himself. Apple and Pixar and those types of images aside, Steve Jobs transcends these accomplishments through the meaning of his life's work, his vision, and the inspiration that he will continue to be to us all.
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing" (in Greek).
Details to follow, but begin now as timing is very important.
This is a community contest. The prizes are along the lines of Premium Memberships (details to follow), not tons of money or iPads. Just the coming together of deviants to mourn the loss of a defining life.
Seer as Creator
The encomiums have poured forth, saturating the media both traditional and digital with well-meaning
yet somehow hollow accolades. For the comparisons in greatness to earlier geniuses don’t really fit. Edison,
Bell and Ford are repeatedly invoked, but even though the telephone, the light bulb and the automobile
fundamentally changed the way we humans live our lives, there’s something more radically revolutionary
about what Steve Jobs’s inventions have done for life on this planet. Communicating over distance, extending
the day’s work into the night and making travel practical for the everyman were great innovations – but the
iPod, iPhone and iPad are not only making human organization and communication easier and more effective,
they are reorganizing how we think about our lives, evolving our consciousnesses, being used as tools to spark
the light of democratic revolutions in benighted dictatorships.
The only genius forefather who was in his time something like Steve Jobs has been in our lifetimes is
Leonardo da Vinci. Most people know of him as the painter who created the Mona Lisa. But he was also an
engineer and inventor, his inventions being so revolutionary as to be impossible to bring to life with
the raw materials and techniques of his age. He imagined airplanes, helicopters and submarines centuries
before they became realities. Art and invention were one inseparable futurist adventure for the master
visionary. Steve Jobs was the engineer and inventor first, among the first wave of personal computer innovators,
but like no other he was always, perhaps even foremost, the true artist of the original wave of young seers.
He knew how to meld popular culture, especially music, with communications in a way that would be instantly
intuitively accessible to the world’s masses.
Da Vinci never saw his most ambitious inventions come to fruition. More science would be needed to realize his
artistic vision. In less than forty years, Steve Jobs was able to bring his visions to life and change the world.
He has placed the tools in our hands for unlocking all the science and all the art we can ever want to make part of
our lives, digitally telescoping our “learning curves” so we can now realize in a few years what until so recently
took a lifetime’s dedicated (and for most financially prohibitive) scholarship. Perhaps it’s no surprise, sad but
fitting, that his own intensely creative life was compacted into only 56 years. Now his amazing energies are scattered
infinitely as atoms to the universe … Bon voyage, Steve.
- Which do you think is more important to the future of humanity: artistic vision or ingenious invention? Why?
- What other artists or inventors do you know of who have made contributions as great as Leonardo Da Vinci or Steve Jobs?
- Does Steve Jobs attitude toward life and the example he set make you any less fearful of risking failure?
"Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to
help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations,
all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of
death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best
way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked.
There is no reason not to follow your heart. ... Stay hungry. Stay foolish."
—Stanford University commencement address, June 2005.
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