The secret to becoming a great artist: never compromise.

Many individuals believe it to be impossible to live without compromise.


We can live without compromise. But we have to deal with the consequences.

Steve Jobs is my hero.

Steve Jobs: by Matt Buck

True art: being determined in your creative vision, and not compromising for anything shitty.

For example, I’ve been thinking a lot about design. I grew up with PC computers. I loved the personal computer — it empowered me. But the problem with PC (Windows) computers: shit was always breaking. I must have gotten at least 1-3 “blue screens of death” a day, on Windows 95. Frustrating as hell.

Steve Jobs was a visionary: he saw an uncompromising future of personal computers, that weren’t shitty. While I am a huge fan of open systems, open source, and cross-compatibility systems, it often leads to fragmentation, and a worse user experience.

Howard Hughes by Matt Buck

Even now– I was contemplating buying a Windows laptop. But I look at all of them, and all of them suck. There is no true unison between hardware and software. Windows is starting to get closer: but after playing with their devices at the Windows store for an hour, I realized that their devices lacked soul. I still don’t feel that non-compromise soul of the artisan, imbued into the machines.

Image credit by Bauhaus

For Apple devices, while I hate how it has turned into a status symbol, the devices are simpler. As I’m typing these words on an iPad Air (no keyboard), I am struck by the beautiful minimalism of the device. No superfluous moving parts. Just a home button, a touch screen, an on button, volume buttons, and a rotation lock switch. Nothing more or less.

Plane by Howard Hughes

Steve Jobs was vehemently opposed to the concept of a “big” or a “mini” iPad. He figured out with Jony Ive and the design studio, that the 9-10 inch size was ideal: not too big, not too small. Just right.

Also, Jobs hated the concept of a keyboard or a stylus. Seeing Apple have a keyboard for the iPad, and a “Pencil” is silly. It is stifling innovation. I’m typing these words on an iPad on IA WRITER, and have found the benefit of not using a keyboard: less carpal tunnel for my typing.

Also, the iPad is super thin, and super light. Which means, I can carry it everywhere, and have more opportunities to write when caffeine and inspiration strikes.

Slash the superfluous

If Steve Jobs wasn’t so stubborn about his artistic vision of Apple devices, we would still have shitty PC windows cloned devices. When he got kicked out of Apple, and then returned, he slashed the majority of the crappy Apple products to regain focus for Apple. He killed the “Newton”, and other shitty Apple desktop devices.

Jobs made a four-quadrant grid: pro and consumer laptops, and pro and consumer desktops. And of course, he innovated with the iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad.

Do you remember before the iPhone, we had all these shitty Windows “smartphones” with a keyboard and a stylus? They sucked. Now all smartphones are just knock-offs of the iPhone. Even with tablets, all tablets suck except the iPad.


Your life as an artist is short.

Like the ancient saying:

Life is short, art is long.

Which means, your life is short. You might die today, tomorrow, a week from now, a year from now, ten years, or maybe a few decades from now.

But the art you create (if good) will last a long time. Even now, Apple makes beautiful devices (I love the 12” MacBook) that are imbued with the creative soul and genius of Steve Jobs. My friend Henrique and the Apple photos team has innovated with photography– everyone is now a (pretty good) photographer, just with an iPhone. iOS and MacOS keep getting better. Android is still trying to play catch up.


The reason why I’m writing this:

You are an artist. You have a creative vision. Don’t ask for anyone else’s “opinion”. Stay true to your own vision. Never compromise your art. Or else you are not an artist true to yourself.

No great philosophy, art, or poetry is created by committee. It takes the stroke of one genius individual to make great art.

You could have got a bunch of guys in a room, but you could not pen the poetry of Voltaire.

You could have had a bunch of photographers, yet not touched the genius of Josef Koudelka.

You could have got a bunch of nerds in a room, but nobody with the genius of Steve Jobs.

The same goes for architecture: Frank Lloyd Wright refused to compromise.

Plane by Howard Hughes

The same with aviation and film with Howard Hughes: no compromise.

Kanye by George Condo //

Kanye West: no compromise. Kendrick Lamar: no compromise.

What doesn’t ERIC KIM do?

So friend obviously I’m not gonna dictate your artistic life. But this is what Eric Kim does and doesn’t do:

  1. I don’t ask for opinions: I believe in my own artistic vision. Why do I need the opinion of others for?
  2. I don’t doubt myself: self doubt comes from no confidence in your art. I have supreme confidence in my art. So I publish everything that I personally believe in, and don’t publish what I don’t like.
  3. I don’t make excuses: either I like making art, or I don’t. I don’t make excuses. If I don’t want to do something, I don’t make excuses. I just don’t do it. But if I really want and like doing something, I do it. No in-between.

For more inspiration, read “The Art of Photography”.

Never compromise; it is your artistic demise.

Be STRONG in your artistic vision and never compromise
Because if you compromise, that will be your artistic demise
And death

Keep your creative spirit alive, not gasping for breath
Explore all kinds of art; deep breadth

When you see a fork in the road, go left
Or right,
It don’t matter: just keep flying your spiritual kite

Ignore the puppies that bite
They’re harmless
They’re just little souls
That like to be told what to do.

But you: my dear friend, are cut from another cloth
You don’t need no external status symbols, no watch, no bag,
Just take your creative rag, and wipe away the dirt and gloom
And let your creativity blossom and bloom.




eric kim photography black and white leaves flash

Re-discover you inner-child and feel like PABLO PICASSO:

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