Similarities in influence and technique with modern technological advances

Happy are the young people who believe that it is easy.”

It is a common fallacy among mankind to believe that anything that requires attention to detail, years of experience and that draws a good salary is actually easier than it appears to be. Almost always that is far from the truth –years of study and exceptional talent are usually the prime thing when seeking a career in such a field.

The above quote is from Claude Monet concerning his art and the abilities that he formed. Monet no doubt had a natural talent for the field that would make him popular in his own time and quite a bit more in modern times – his painting, even from his early years, is exquisite in it’s attention to color and detail. However Monet did not become a master of impressionism, a forerunner in his field, simply by painting and nothing else.

“It’s not everything to paint – you have to sell, and live.”

Monet had to be taught what it was to be a painter at one point. That statement in and of itself is quite contrary to common thought regarding this master of impressionism. Many forget that Monet had mentors – Boudin and Jongkind primarily. These two, masters in their own right, helped Monet to shape his style and also gave advice concerning how to sell his works. Monet was taught to scrutinize nature and how to be faithful to nature’s appearances. As a result of this instruction most of Monet’s work displays a wide format, a low viewpoint, and a large, if not expansive, view of the sky.

How does Monet’s technique correlate with modern technology today? In what possible way could a painter who was at the forefront of impressionistic painting in France influence or even be related to technology today?

“My art is an act of faith, an act of love and humility. Yes, humility…. I applied paint to these canvases in the same way that monks of old illuminated their books of hours; they owe everything to the close union of solitude and silence, passionate and exclusive attention akin to hypnosis.”

Monet’s technique for study and application of his painting is startlingly akin to that of the modern freelance programmer. The stereotype of the programmer sitting alone in their small apartment with books everywhere and multiple monitors with lines of code visible in multiple windows did not come about by chance. Like Monet, many of these individuals owe their creative thought to the silence and solitude that is afforded by simply cutting off the rest of life and working for as long as possible. It is interesting to note that Monet has also been quoted as saying, “I’ve always worked better in solitude… following my own impressions.” The modern programmer is not so much a person with degrees and certifications as they are people that have the ability – the innate talent for the work that they do.

Impressionism] as shown by Monet’s work is primarily the capture of a particular scene to be as true to life as possible. Science and computer technology are constantly working towards this goal – the precise representation of a scene that existed moments ago that is true to life, an exact replica. Video production has been striving after perfect picture representation for many years, and with the help of new technologies, they are getting closer to achieving resolution and bit depths that are so precise that any difference between the actual scene and the recorded scene cannot be physically discerned by the naked eye.

“I’ve always done what I saw without worrying too much about the process.”

That is very precisely the motto of many technology experts today. The process is not as important as the final product anymore. In modern business practice concerning companies that deal with high technology, if a certain person is able to do the work better than his colleague, even though his colleague has more accreditations, the job almost invariably will go to the one that is most capable, regardless of the age of the person. The process of getting a job in a technology field is not the same as the process for getting a traditional job. The whole point is that modern technology has distanced itself from traditional job roles. The pay is on average higher, the age of the worker is on average lower, and the satisfaction is for the most part higher.

Many people that work in high tech jobs today are there because it is their hobby, their interest. They do not work their job because they necessarily must, because they have a high sense of dignity that they receive from their job, but rather they do their job because of the satisfaction that they receive from the accomplishment of their work. It has been described that many take up information technology careers because it is much like playing chess. The opponent is the world of technology at large, and the individual player must make the correct moves to come out on top, otherwise they will be forced out of their position by a younger generation that knows more and has a better ability.

Everything I have earned has gone into these gardens. I do not deny that I am proud of them.”

One of the biggest quirks that show up in most every programmer and information technology worker is their pride in their personal computer. Most consider it almost sinful to not have the latest and greatest. Many hours are spent in research regarding which components are the best on the market right now. Many hours are devoted to the customization of the computers appearance. Some go so far as to custom build their case, and those who are able even go so far as to design their own motherboards. Much of the pride that is invested in these machines seems to have a direct association to not only how much the person makes from their job, but also how involved they are in the technology culture that holds that the newest is the best and that those without will not be able to survive without it.

Today the technique and influence of Monet, when juxtaposed to the technique and influences of technology, are markedly similar. Monet had mentors in his contemporaries, so do most computer programmers, network analysts, and other high tech jobholders. Claude Monet required solitude for his work, and so do most modern jobs – silence and solitude to the point of hypnosis. If ever you have worked many hours on the same project, steadily making progress towards your goal, you understand that the feeling of exclusive thought and ability is to be cherished. That is why there are such things as cubicles in the modern workplace – the sense of solitude is a requirement for most to feel that they can work properly.

Monet’s advances with regards to impressionism are significant. The man moved forward in a difficult field to attain something that many thought was impossible – the re-creation of a moment of time. Today many regard technology with the same attitude – “it is impossible”. That may or may not be true, but thanks to the influences of abstract thought and the examples of those who passed before us, technology at least has a hope of reaching the dreams of those who purvey it’s wares.