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I love Apple. I know it’s a running gag and it’s something I take a lot of shit for from co-workers and family members but it’s true. I’m proud of my love for the company. Not because it’s cool or trendy these days but because Apple represents a philosophy that sits with me like no other company’s has. The idea that technology can be used to create great things, to change the world, is an idea that sits at the heart of what I consider to be my art.
The ability to create something, using amazing tools that allow you to focus on WHAT you are creating not on the act of creation itself, is one of the greatest gifts an artist can receive. Every day for the last eleven years, I have had the privilege of using just such a gift to create things and to teach others to create. Steve Jobs gave me that gift. For that I will be eternally grateful.
I’ve always thought that artists change the world. Their contributions bring something to the world that could not possibly exist without the soul of the artist that is embedded in it. An artists looks at the world with a different lens. The artist sees the world as something that can be changed, absorbed, commented on, made different through the act of creation. Artists view the world as a canvas, to be given color and light, shape and hue. They don’t see themselves as cogs in a machine or some grey lifeless piece in a puzzle with no meaning.
To me, what makes Steve Jobs such a powerful figure is that he seemed to understand that too. Better, he wanted to make sure that everyone could experience that act of creation. The gift that Steve gave to the world was the technology that allowed us to tear open the gates that have kept the tools of creation in the hands of only a few. To put into the hands of the most common person the tools to self expression and allow them to communicate their soul and vision. Steve helped make them commonplace. He helped make them as normal as using a stove.
We’re taking pictures of sunsets and sharing them with our friends and relatives. We’re creating music in our bedrooms, basements and classrooms. We’re shooting films in our back yards. We’re writing poetry and printing books filled with characters we invented. Sure, not all are things you may consider high art. But I would much rather live in this world that has more pictures of sunsets, more songs about love, more movies and stories about adventures in backyards than live an eternity in a world without them.
This is Steve Job’s legacy. The reason so many of us feel a sense of deep loss at his passing. He gave us the modern version of fire for the first time. He gave us the tools to change our world.
Thank you, Steve.