The Parallel Story Along Apple, The Bull, The Artist Io Wuerich,

and finding your identity

What is a bull?

Picasso’s first answer and artistic representation to that question in December 5, 1945 was this:

Bull (Plate I), Picasso 1945

A realistic brush drawing of the bull in lithographic ink.

“[The first print was] a superb, well-rounded bull, I thought to myself that that was that. but not at all.” Fernand Mourlot, one of Picasso’s friend

And after a series of 9 more lithographs in-between:

Bull Plates, Picasso 1946

“He made a joke, he went on working, and then he produced another bull. and each time less and less of the bull remained. he used to look at me and laugh. ‘look…’ he would say, ‘we ought to give this bit to the butcher.’” Fernand Mourlot

Picasso arrives at this:

Bull (Plate XI), Picasso 1946

He reduces The Bull to a simple outline, capturing the essence of the animal with the fewest number of strokes.

To me,
and Picasso,
and to Steve Jobs,
and possibly to this real cool artist I stumbled across Instagram just now called Io Wuerich,
this final print of The Bull symbolizes the core of any thing — essentially its very identity.

“two holes — that’s the symbol for the face, enough to evoke it without representing it, but isn’t it strange that it can be done through such simple means? … whatever is most abstract may perhaps be the summit of reality.” Pablo Picasso

Here you have the evolution of apple mouses:

The Evolution of Apple Mouses

Same goes with how the iPhone simply got rid of all those ugly buttons, which used to be the status quo for phones at the time.

“You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential” Steve Jobs

Now, take a look at these drawings from Io Wuerich in 2016:

From Io Wuerich’s Instagram in 2016: io_wuerich

These drawings are absolutely fabulous, and she is obviously a real talented artist, but to me, it does not add another color to the palette.

After (literally) a thousand iterations (and insta posts), she starts developing her own unique style and pattern. Her recent art forms may seem way more easy to draw (like it’s easy to copy), but the creativity that backs it is untouchable:

From Io Wuerich’s Instagram in 2020: io_wuerich

What’s worth mentioning further is how much iterations and effort it must have taken to reach this stage. Io posted more than a thousand drawings over the half-decade. If you start browsing from her earlier drawings, you can see how her drawings evolve — like The Bull, and Apple’s products — to a more alive artistic-creature on its own.

Picasso Painting, photo by André Villers 1953

“And when you look at that line, you cannot imagine how much work it involved. sometimes, the printers would leave at 8p.m. at night and return at 8:30 a.m. the next morning, only to find Picasso still working” Jean Celestin, Fernand Mourlot’s fellow printmaker

Steve Jobs working at home in Palo Alto, Time Magazine 2004

“It takes a lot of hard work. to make something simple, to truly understand the underlying challenges and come up with elegant solutions.” Steve Jobs

Now let’s go back to the question of:

What is a bull?

and now change the question to:

What is a Crimson Kim,
What is a you,
What is a ____

What is so YOU that you simply cannot remove that part out of your identity? (like the two horns of the bull, or the tail of the apple mouse — jk they also removed them through trackpads XD)

Bull (Plate XI), Picasso 1946

This parallel story along The bull, Apple, the artist Io Wuerich, and finding your identity, hints us about what makes us — as individuals — truly us. And the role of iterative experiments, full concentration, and abstraction that goes with it. This common theme is also found in other beautiful things in the world — programming, biology, the philosophy of happiness, architecture, and many more. Let’s just remember that —

less is more, more or less