Brown things or the merits of brown ink, marble, iron and other pleasant colors. / by Mirena Rhee

Found at some point in the vicinity of Vatican museums the Louvre and other odd places.

I've always been fascinated with the brown -ness of drawings I had seen in museums around the world so when I first started drawing I used black but black is just too assertive and too dark so I found the most gentle semi-transparent brown ink which is of German origin which is so delicate which serve my purpose and it's my secret

I find comfort in the old Masters the art of the Renaissance as well as art from two millennia back, it's my wall against greed, the materialistic the piles of useless garbage and all the empty words it's like a poetry wall for me against all evil

One of the best things that happened to me in the Silicon Valley was that people really never cared about my gender or my accent, and I highly encourage you if you ever want to try and work, work for somebody that you like and somebody that likes you back. Although the Silicon Valley appears on the surface to really care about middle-aged white men, under the hood what Silicon Valley really cares about is whether you produce great work, and since I was sitting in a cubicle and typing and clicking away nobody really cared if I had a vagina or whether I had come from Eastern Europe or not.

When I first moved to the Silicon Valley I was fresh off the middle of the Midwest University where I had gone to do my Masters and where I had gotten a full scholarship. It is great to have the American government pay for your education so always make sure to get good grades and be well positioned for a full ride. It is much easier than you think - just go for the place that gives you education for free and you will never regret it. Paying for education is a racket and full of regrets and financial woes long term. We moved to the Silicon Valley directly from school basically dragging a U-Haul behind us. In the valley I had no family or friends, and since I was wondering what to do - I worked. Because I had no idea what else to do other than working and I didn't know anyone, I didn't have any network, or support network, or friends or family, .. so I started paying attention to what the most talented people were doing, people whom I admired and respected for their work, and tried to do the same thing, and what the most talented people were doing is working a lot so I did too.

I was sitting around in the cubicle in front of a computer and I was having absolutely a great time, I was having a lot of fun, and I was getting paid $100,000 to do the fun. There was a company, a video game company called Activision which paid me about $120,000 - so I will get a yearly salary and then they will have these layoffs whenever a project is over, whenever a project was over they will lay off people and give severance. I would get laid off from a project and get $20,000 severance. In a month or two they will call me back and say hey please come back on board but you have to return the money. I'm like no way I'm not returning the money so I will get on board again and I will keep the $20,000. And then the project will be over again for some reason, it would be over in six months and then they will give me another $20,000 in severance. So it was really nice like that.

I would end up with these fantastic amounts of money in my bank account so what did I do with the money? I went to the Uffizi, I went to the Vatican Museums, St Peters, to the Borghese to see the best of Bernini, the churches and the ruins of Rome, the galleries in Florence, the best Gaudi palaces in Barcelona, the three great museums in Madrid where i spent literally every day soaking the greatest art the world has ever seen - Picasso, Dali, Goya, El Greco, I went to the Louvre, I went to the National Gallery in London, to the National Portrait Gallery. I went to Amsterdam and the Hague to learn of Rembrandt and Vermeer, I was frequently stoping in New York as well, I learned from the best the world has to offer first-hand. It also really helped that as an artist in the Silicon Valley I was getting really acquainted with the best processes in the world, with what the Japanese called kaizen - continuous improvement. There's one thing about being a commercial artist is that you work together with other people in a collaborative way, you work towards a certain visual goal and that visual goal has a very high standard, and that high standard has to be achieved somehow right? The best possible way is, because you can't really nail it right off the bat, the best way is to take small steps and do continuous improvement until the final product is satisfactory, ideally, as in the case with the Silicon Valley, the greatest product and the highest standard that can be reached.

When I went to study all the old Masters and I was already familiar with all the processes that the Silicon Valley used to create these marvelous projects and products, I could recognize the same drive for greatness. I could recognize that all the old Masters ( I include in this definition all the Renaissance greats as well as all the great artists from Antiquity ) were not only great artists but great technicians, great engineers as well, they were very very technical in their approach. 

Silicon Valley had this really flat management structure where you basically learned how to do things by bouncing off of other great people that were doing their thing. Steve Jobs had the famous rock tumbler metaphor where you put a bunch of rocks in a tumbler and you turn it on and the next day come back to see that all the rocks were polished into nice gems by simply rubbing off of each other for 24 hours.
Although nobody ever spoke of kaizen the spirit of kaizen permeated the Silicon Valley.

Stay away from garbage. You know it when you see it. Stay near and learn from the best. You always know when you see great work, it usually speaks for itself - the people, the products and the processes are usually something you want to repeat in the future, learn from, come back to, deeply respect, greatly admire and want to emulate.