From brushstrokes to pixels

The parallels between art and IT

Art and computer science. At first glance, these two disciplines seem very far apart. But they have more in common than one might think.

How do these two areas complement each other? And what is it like to live with one foot in both worlds?

Elizabeth Pich, software engineer at sequire technology and comic artist, sheds light on this topic from a very individual perspective. She studied computer science at Saarland University and communication design at the Saar University of Fine Arts. She is also a co-founder of the Comic Symposium in Saarbrücken. She is internationally recognized as part of the duo “war and peas” (with Jonathan Kunz) as well as with her solo project “Fungirl”.


Creativity and innovation

One of the most fundamental similarities between art and IT is that they are driven by creativity and innovation. Creativity is hard to define. It seems to be a magical elixir of which no one knows the exact brewing recipe. It is undisputed that creativity is an advantage in almost every profession. In IT, it is urgently needed to develop technical solutions to complex problems. In art, it is a prerequisite for creating innovative works that touch, educate, entertain or irritate us.

Creativity is encouraged when we create a space in which experimentation is allowed. Experimentation leads to innovative solutions and is also fun. The most interesting things are created in a space where everything can be asked. In his lecture on creativity, John Cleese talks about the ʻopen modeʼ. This is the mode in which we are free to pursue our curiosity and try out the previously forbidden or impossible. We benefit from this in our search for solutions.

This lecture often inspired me during my studies. The open mode not only helped me in my artistic work, but also in IT, which often involves frustrating puzzles. This enjoyment of learning things and solving problems is one of the key aspects that attracted me to computer science. It’s a way of using and sharpening your brain that I didn’t know before. And because it’s fun, you’re also prepared to put up with frustration and keep going. Which, in turn, you also need in art. So it’s mutually beneficial.

Humans, art and technology

Art, like IT, is about engaging with the world and the people who live in it. Technology is there for people, not people for technology. In art, we want to understand, touch and communicate with human nature. In IT, we develop technology with the user at the center.

This is another fundamental task that appeals to me in computer science. If you’re lucky, you work on something that you find important, that others need and that they enjoy using. You have solved a problem with your work, made someone’s life easier or entertained someone.

That fulfills the creative spirit. The creative spirit that you also have as an artist. So you have another beautiful pillar on which both areas stand. That’s one of the best aspects of both professions: the opportunity to create entire worlds out of nothing.

elizabeth-pich-square-portrait (1)

Software Developer and Cartoonist
sequire technology

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