Updated: Feb 19, 2022
It was William Shakespeare who said Life is a Stage & it was Steve Jobs who revolutionized the medium when he premiered the iPhone. Steve Jobs expanded human consciousness & democratized information.
Our lives have become an expression. We are the most creatively productive generation in human history. We all express ourselves through our aesthetic online, we curate the highlights of our lives and try to direct the movie of our life. We take pictures of our food, we curate ourselves through our favourite music & movies, we take pictures of our clothes, we take pictures of ourselves, our friends & our family, we record our conversations.
We grew up consuming & creating various forms of media, videos, imagery, paintings, poems, and all of the greatest music since the beginning of time literally at the tip of our fingers.
Any one of us could be the greatest photographer in the world if we could take a Delorean to the 1890s, just by virtue of having used a smartphone. My friends who aren't trained photographers instagram posts are way better than many photographers I learned about in high school photography class, just because we've had a wider access to technology for our whole lives.
Everyone’s a poet, everyone is a film director, everyone is a multidisciplinary artist, everyone is a celebrity by virtue of having a smartphone, even if they aren’t aware of it.
Andy Warhol was mocked as unoriginal & lazy when he first came on the scene. Andy, much like Steve Jobs, was a uniquely American artist. Andy just wanted to make stuff. He saw that America was the first civilization where regardless of class or status, you could be sure that the most glamorous celebrity would be buying the same things as the average person living check to check. As a person from humble beginnings, after coming of age and seeing the bourgeouis circles & what was kept away from him his whole life, Warhol was on a mission to democratize fine art.
Andy decided to highlight the mundane everyday items like Campbell soup cans, Coca Cola bottles & celebrity tabloids in his art, he was mocked for his self portraits & films of himself eating Whoppers, he was mocked for revolutionizing our approach and ideologies behind consumerism, and calling his studio 'The Factory.' His stylistic approach to silk screen printing, product design, photography & branding that was originally mocked has since been emulated by virtually every brand & artist.
Andy was mocked when he said in the future everyone would be famous for at least 15 minutes and yet, if you look at the world today in 2022, Andy’s influence is hard not to see all around us.
Steve Jobs took Andy's words & work and made them an accessible reality. We are all multidisciplinary artists, we all take selfies, we take pictures of our food, we can all become world famous celebrities for 15 minutes by using our phones, the world has become Warholian since his passing in 1987.
Andy Warhol's vision was to democratize fine art and allow the average person to be able to see the art & glamour in their everyday life. Andy’s movement was very much American and very much dedicated to making beauty accessible to everyone regardless of financial or social status by redefining what was deemed glamorous & worthy of being percieved as Art. Steve Jobs mission was to democratize information & enhance taste. Andy & Steve both created the conditions necessary for Kanye West.
Earlier this week Ye, the Artist formerly known as Kanye West, dropped his music video for Heaven & Hell that perfectly encapsulated this opening of the floodgates. The video doubles as a commercial for his Yeezy x Gap x Balenciaga collaboration. The video depicts an urban area of people dressed in all black, possibly denoting the absence of class systems & various forms of division. The visuals emulate various renaissance paintings like The Fall of Babylon. Kanye believes we are at that Fall of Babylon where elites have hoarded knowledge & beauty from the masses and we are at that phase where we are reclaiming it.
Kanye said “ I really do believe that the world can be saved through design, and everything needs to actually be “architected.” And this is the reason why even some of the first DONDA employees were architects that started designing t-shirts instead of buildings. But just to see the work actually be actualized. I believe that utopia is actually possible–but we’re led by the least noble, the least dignified, the least tasteful, the dumbest, and the most political. So in no way am I a politician–I’m usually at my best politically incorrect and very direct. I really appreciate you guys’ willingness to learn and hone your craft, and not be lazy about creation.”
For the past 2 decades Ye has been on the same mission as Warhol, trying to democratize beauty & art, but through using Steve Jobs technology, instead of urging people to see the art in their everyday lives, Ye urges people to educate themselves and enhance their taste so they can enhance the quality of their life & expression.
Ye just like Warhol & Jobs came from humble Middle Class beginnings in America, the land of opportunity. Ye always loved art, design & fashion since he was a child but when he wanted certain shoes & clothes, his mother would tell him they were too expensive. When he became a successful rapper, much like Andy, he began indulging in the world of bourgeouis culture and was shocked to find out how much had been kept away from him in his life due to his social & financial status.
Ye began educating himself, going to the top Design houses, luxury brands & bourgeouis circles, learning all of the trade secrets & is now attempting to bring them at an affordable rate. The prime example of this Robin Hood mentality is what he’s currently doing with the Yeezy x Gap x Balenciaga collaboration. Those same kids who couldn't afford Balenciaga at Balenciaga prices can now get Balenciaga quality at Gap prices.
Shapes, forms, lights, proportions, ratios, colors, sounds, design, aesthetics & quality are foundations of reality, and they are things that people have been working with & on for centuries. There are people who have mastered these crafts and their various elements, theories, disciplines, aesthetic criteria, & schools of thoughts for milennia, and we are currently in an era where you can access every documented piece of information from the greatest minds in history. By expanding your level of information on these topics and applying your findings in your daily life, you can literally enhance the quality of life.
Ye stated in his interview on Drink Champs that he believes there are sounds, lights, shapes, forms, meals, proportions, & fragrances that are healing, relaxing, & life enhancing and he's ultimately trying to design an enhanced quality of life for humanity within the three dimensional space we occupy.
What Ye, Warhol & Steve Jobs noticed is that throughout history, due to social status, economic hierarchies and outdated ideas, beauty, glamour, luxury, quality, peace, harmony & knowledge have been hidden from the people and kept within elite circles, so they each decided to open the floodgates for the public.
Ye started his own Design company named Donda in order to use the Internet to its full potential. Donda, the design hub, became an incubator for some of the worlds greatest designers in Kanye, Virgil Abloh, Matthew Williams, and Justin Saunders. Ultimately Donda was a mission to raise the taste level of the world. It was about showing the youth that it's possible for them to do anything, and it gave inspiration to the kids of the Internet generation who learn things like beat-making on the computer as opposed to in band class.
Ye & the Donda team would intern at various fashion houses around the world, travel and study art, urban design of modern & ancient cities, villages, communes, primitive cultures, ancient civilizations, futurism, the old testament, architecture, product design, industrial design, lighting, shapes, colors, forms, proportions & ratios in order to expand their taste level to create a better world.
For years, what Donda actually was remained mysterious. The original mission at Donda was to figure out how aspiration could be turned into actual projects. Kanye, Virgil & the team were focused on music & fashion during its inception and they figured out new methods of learning & actualizing, thanks to the powers of the internet. The process during the inception of the organization was going from tiny details to the broadest possible reach: You create music for a show, then you create a stage for the show, then you create the media for the show, then you create the effects for the show, and then you create merchandise for the whole thing, then maybe you create a pavilion that travels with an art project by Vanessa Beecroft.
As the years went by Kanye began buying plots of land, experimenting with various architectural ideas and actively reconceptualizing civilization.
Many people are completely content with living their lives under drop ceilings and fluorescent lights, completely unaware of the cognitive effects the lighting choices they make can have on their emotional, mental, physical & spiritual wellbeing. Ye began working with Light healing artists like James Turrell, & incorporating various natural harmonics into his sounds, as seen with the mixes in Jesus Is King, in order to create a calmer, more beautiful and harmonious world.
This is the same quest Walt Disney was on. Walt Disney is now known as the behemoth corporation for its films & music that raised us, but it all started with the founder and this vision he had that was much bigger than just making children's cartoons. Walt understod sound, he understood warmth & emotion, he understood shapes, & forms, he understood visuals & he understood space, so he decided to create his own theme park featuring light shows, stories & various rides, but that was only the beginning.
Disneyland is Walt's most popular architectural explorations and one of the most monumental feats of urban design on planet Earth, but Walts magnum opus was the city he was actively conceptualizing, a civilization of the future he called EPCOT. Epcot stands for Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow. Walt was building the philosophical & architectural city of the future, and he was placing it in the hands of American Industry.
Walt Disney took time to study Urban designers like Victor Gruen, he studied Plato and Aristotle, he was truly trying to conceptualize the perfect city & way of being, but he knew he couldn’t do it alone, so he created his Imagineers department which is one of the most genius, fascinating and captivating concepts i've ever learned about.
Disney imagineers were lighting designers, Interactive designers, Sound designers, Film/media producers, Mechanical engineers, Electrical engineers, Architects, Planners, Costume designers, Concept artists, Content writers, Music composers, Interior designers, Set designers, scenic painters, Sculptors, Prop fabricators, philosophers and intellectuals.
EPCOT was to be a utopian town featuring commercial, residential, industrial and recreational centers, connected by a mass multimodal transportation system. Based on ideas stemming from modernism and futurism, it was designed to replace the inefficient infrastructure created by urban sprawl that was growing in the United States in the 1960s.
Its purpose was to be a real city that would 'never cease to be a living blueprint of the future' drawing on the latest technology and innovation from American industry.
The original concept of EPCOT was abandoned by Walt Disney Productions after Walt Disney's death in 1966, citing the impracticality of maintaining, governing, and operating the city.
Disney understood that reality is malleable. Disney was trying to perfect life all the way down to the perfect temperature in an area where it never gets too warm or cold, he was conceptualizing the perfect noise and lighting for space.
You can see how Disney has impacted modern day culture. Kanye’s Donda Design Hub is clearly inspired by Disney’s Imagineers crew, Virgil was even an Architect.
The thing all these men I've mentioned have in common is that their art wasn't just made for the sake of existing, their was a purpose behind it and it was a mission to make life better for humanity through beauty, through knowledge, through art, music, warmth, sincerity, love & a whole lot of industry & imagination.
They've paved the way for the world we live in today. Our lives have become an expression now, we can curate our lives to our tastes, what you listen to, the fragrances you choose, the space you choose to inhabit, the lighting choices you make, all of these things are factors in the creation & curation of the optimal experience for yourself & the ones you love.
Helena Bonham Carter once said “I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art.”
Even if you’re not actively attempting to reconceptualize civilization, enhancing the quality of your life by paying attention to the lighting choices, aesthetic choices, design choices, beauty, ratios, forms, & fragrances, that is the way to enhance the human experience and we are just at the beginning of it.
It’s only been a little over a century since the invention of electricity, its been less than a century since the creation of television, its been less than that since the creation of the internet & I vividly remember being in 3rd grade when the first iPhone premiered. These are all very new concepts and we are learning and evolving in real time, and one of the ways we can start evolving in the right direction is by educating ourselves, broadening our horizons, enhancing our sense of taste, enhancing our sense of style & aesthetics and actively seeking out the best quality of life.
Ye believes that everyone should have access to taste, beauty, truth and awesomeness, and the way to that is through education. Everyone has access to every piece of information that has ever existed on planet Earth, you can take that information & merge it with your modern aesthetic & technological capabilities in order to create & live a more elegant & beautiful life.
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