Creativity in the Age of Computers

One of the amazing things about living in today’s world of technology is how computers can help artists draw, painters paint, sculptors sculpt, and writers write.   Even the least artistic among us can create wonderful works of art… if we have the latest apps on our tablets and smart phones.

I often think about how the great artists of the past might have been influenced by today’s technology…

  • Mozart – Taught himself to play music at the age of 3 using the Garage Band app on his iPad.
  • Da Vinci — Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile actually happened when she tried to figure out how to take a “selfie” with her smart phone.  She posted the photo on Facebook with the caption: “Check me out at the Louvre!”  The photo got a million likes… and three million dislikes.
  • Van Gogh — Cut off his ear in exasperation after a power surge wiped out his computer before he could back up his files.
  • Gauguin — Was relatively unknown until he posted pictures of naked Tahitian women on Instagram.
  • Tolstoy — Originally wanted War and Peace to be twice as long, but he did not want to pay for more space on his blog site.
  • Monet — Because of a glitch with the color print cartridge in his portable printer, his original drawing of the wheat stacks in the country were printed in several different colors, looking like they were painted during different seasons of the year. After trashing his printer, he found out that the art world loved the work and wanted more.
  • Charles Dickens — Originally wrote Oliver Twist as an interactive video game called “The Artful Dodger,” where the main video character tries to avoid being blown up.
  • Voltaire — So taken with the impact of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, he changed the theme of Candide from “cultivate your own garden” to “learn how to control your brand with social media.”
  • William Faulkner — Became very frustrated using the spell and grammar check functions on Word, which made the regional dialect of his unique characters sound a lot like uptight college English professors.
  • Picasso – His paintings never sold, but he made millions creating cool ClipArt.
  • The Great Architects of Rome – Computer simulation software sped up the process of building Rome, leading many to quote: “Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day… but it was architecturally conceived in three-and-a-half hours.”
  • Hemingway — Wrote four of his novels on a smartphone, posting the chapters on his blog site from all over the world… while sitting along the banks of the Seine, at a bullfight in in Madrid, in the middle of a safari in Kenya, or in a drunken stupor at the foot of a bar stool in Key West.
  • Shakespeare – Original draft of Romeo and Juliet had the romantic couple being matched on a dating website.  Despite never actually meeting, they immediately became very intimate and engaged in extensive, graphic sexting, against the warnings of their parents.  On the night they decide to elope, Romeo spaces out while playing XBox Live with his friends, and forgets to meet Juliet.  Bored with waiting for Romeo, Juliet decides to have some fun with her Twitter account  and threatens that she will “un-friend” him on Facebook.  Sadly, the story ultimately ends in tragedy inside a virtual reality catacomb.
  • Robert Frost – “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I… I accessed Google Maps on my smart phone to see which route was faster… and that has made all the difference.”

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