If I could travel back in time and make a career shift, I would likely have ended up being a graphic designer. Art has the same elements that make programming so much fun. Artists create something out of nothing, express their thoughts through a medium, and can have an enormous impact on their audience. As developers, we believe that machines think in 1s and 0s. While apps technically operate that way, the process of software development is intrinsically creative. In this post, I explore some of my favorite artists’ quotes applied to software development.

Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe Rams Head

“To create one’s own world takes courage.” –Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe is most known for her paintings of large flowers and thought of as the “Mother of American modernism”. Software development typically starts with a glimmer of an idea. It is easy to ignore our thoughts due to a fear of failure, insecurities, and other negative feelings. Creation is an act of courage.

Edgar Degas

A Cotton Office In New Orleans

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” –Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas was a french artist known for his pastel paintings of ballerinas and everyday life. Some of the most magnificent ideas in history have been difficult to explain. Imagine, having to explain the concept of a smartphone without it ever existing. Prototyping ideas is a more accessible tool for showing folks what you mean rather than trying to explain it with words.

Eugène Delacroix

Liberty leading the people

“What moves men of genius, or rather what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough.” –Eugene Delacroix

Another French artist, Eugène Delacroix, is famous for his paintings and is regarded as the leader of the French Romantic school. You can find many of his paintings on display at the Louvre in Paris.

This quote hits home for folks who struggle with inspiration. It is not essential to come up with new ideas but refine existing ones. Has your master plan already been done? That is ok! Do it better.

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe Print

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” –Andy Warhol

Famous for the pop art movement in the 1960s, Andy Warhol’s art is some of the most recognizable artworks in history. I love his quote so much because we all have that inner critic. Our doubts can stop us from doing what we like or pushing forward with our ideas. It is better to build something than critique its merits of its existence.

Salvador Dalí

Dali persistence of memory

“Have no fear of perfection; you’ll never reach it.” –Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dalí was just as famous for his strange gaze, mustache, and surreal dreamscapes. This quote hits me right in the ego. We are afraid to move forward with our app because it is not perfect. Having something that works is always better. It gives us a starting point to improve from, knowing perfection is unattainable.


Michaelangelo The Sistine Chapel

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” –Michelangelo

Michaelangelo, famous renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, and poet. Most famous for his commission work by the Medici family and the Catholic church.

Mastering anything takes thousands of hours of hard work, failure, and heartbreak. The master makes it look easy, but to build mastery in software development is built through hard work, dedication, community, and perseverance. Even masters struggle.


As software developers, we should look to other mediums to draw inspiration. While software development is a relatively new field, the human condition has existed for thousands of years. We can look at other creators and learn from their experiences. I hope these quotes inspire you to create your next app. Let me know your favorites in the comments.