Everyone should make Art

I just did a google search on ‘everyone should code’. These are the top 3 results:

Just look at those headlines

It’s almost a religion, everyone should do it. This worldview is wrong. To be clear, I agree that learning to code will help almost everyone (I worked as a coder for a year), as coding makes you a disciplined thinker, and of course you get the power to make valuable digital products.

But the worldview which compels you to learn to code is very different than one which merely suggests you learn to code. The way it would suggest taking long walks or cold showers. They are helpful, but they are not ‘everyone‘ and ‘should‘. Apple did not become a great company because everyone at Apple could code. Neither did GM, or Disney or Nike or Cirque du Soleil. But great companies were made by people who had a fervor for what they were creating. Something which they probably could not explain.

My worldview – everyone should make art. Everyone. Should. Make. Art. It could be any art. Painting, writing, singing, sculpting, anything done with artistic intent. (Coding can also be seen as an art. One of the authoritative books on algorithms is called ‘The Art of Computer Programming‘.)

Equations and figures: A page from Richard Feynman

You may make art as a profession. Or as a hobby. Richard Feynman did it as a hobby, and was able to get so good that people bought his drawings. When people make art they are more authentic, they go deeper into who they are, what they want to be, and what they want to create. This creates opportunity for innovative ideas. Creative ideas come from passionate people in a state of relaxation.

We need people who care about problems and come up with innovative ideas. Who can bring fresh perspectives to problems. Who can visualize new, different, better futures. And then I guess we’ll have much, much better products.


  • Maybe this is a general phenomenon. This urge to get to the formula of winning. You see someone being successful, and then you see the method behind it, and then you imitate the method. Today’s top companies are tech companies which employ huge numbers of programmers. So, it makes sense to evangelize the method, and it works in the near term. But with art there is no method. There are tips and fundamentals, and they have their importance, but in the end, all art is personal. That’s where it gets its value.
  • Victor Hugo, the famous novelist, was also a visual artist who drew more than 4000 paintings, and had to hide these so they would not overshadow his literary work.
  • This is too anecdotal to be seen as a data point, but Feynman started drawing when he was 44 and got the Nobel prize when he was 47. Maybe art helped him relax. I don’t know.
  • We think of CEOs as largely analytical, spreadsheets oriented people. Well, the CEO of Nike draws all the time.
  •  I love how platforms like Patreon help artists of all kinds. We need more initiatives like this.

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