Would you rather be an artist or engineer?

This is a question I often ask myself on trains and planes or as I lay in the still solitude of my bed. Do I want to create art so beautiful, so inspirational that people actually enjoy life a little bit more? Do I want to develop infrastructure and technology that provides clean drinking water for the billions without?

In this crafted and cultured world, this world without boundaries that we have persisted in creating and destroying over ten long, illustrious millennia, which is more important: art or engineering?

Which was more instrumental: myth and wisdom — or creating fire?

The Bible — or the Roman Empire?

Michaelangelo’s David – or Kodak’s film camera?

Band Aid’s Feed The World — or a network of satellites that enable global communication?

Lennon’s Imagine – or Apple’s iTunes?

Art or engineering?

Do I want to be the person that enables and improves the lives of millions through advancing technology? Should I be the one that converts magic, wished-for technologies into the accessibly mundane?

Or should I be the culmination, the end point, the person that uses contemporary technologies to create art? Art that resonates within and amplifies emotions; art that triggers further explosions of creativity until we have a more beautiful world.

I keep trying to be both an artist and an engineer but I fear that it’s time to choose just one.

Michelangelo or Edison.

Einstein or Plato.

A little girl in a dress
Shrek & Sebastian


I am a tall, hairy, British writer who blogs about technology, photography, travel, and whatever else catches my eye.