Part of our mission here at Daily Fuel has been to illuminate life and early career insights for our readers, and we're thrilled to announce that Sam Mooradian will be joining our current blogger, Christian Zilko, debuting Wednesday September 18th. We hope the sharing of their successes, failures, insights, and adventures will continue to inspire others on their journeys toward personal and professional fulfillment. Enjoy!

Elegance

Sometimes I feel like I did everything in the wrong order.

Religious readers of this newsletter have a pretty nuanced understanding of my art school career by now. But for the very small minority of you who may have missed a blog or two, I’ll give a quick refresher.

When I started college, I had just read Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, and was absolutely enamored. (To be clear, I’m still enamored with it. But I’ve calmed down a bit). I loved Steve Jobs’ approach to simplicity and excellence, and I tried to emulate his minimalism in everything I did. There was only one problem: at that point, I had absolutely nothing to say. I had no voice in my own. And making simple things for the sake of simplicity doesn’t exactly end well. You end up, quite literally, with a whole bunch of nothing.

Around my junior year, I realized that I didn’t have a voice. And realized that I needed one. And then, as readers can confirm, I was quite miserable for quite a while. My skills were progressing, but I had no idea who I was as an artist. It felt like I was running on a treadmill but never able to move forward.

One thing led to another, though, and my junior year ended up being wonderful. I finally wrote some good scripts, and I was able to figure out what I do well. More importantly, though, I discovered some musicians and filmmakers that completely changed how I view the world. I started to combine my interests and skillsets into an aesthetic that was uniquely mine. Suddenly, I had a voice.

But in the process, I lost my commitment to simplicity. I was overwriting everything, and while my work was unique, it lacked the technical quality for which I was once striving. Lately, one of my favorite professors has been talking to me about elegance. Specifically, elegance as it pertains to writing. He encouraged me to write everything in a way that feels has timeless as a navy suit or a long black dress. Aesthetically pleasing, sure, but in a way that will look just as good on a page in 50 years as it does now.

Which brings me back to Steve Jobs. Now that I’ve found my voice, I’m trying to express it in a simple way. I’m going for elegance. The subject matter is all mine, but the way it’s presented should have an understated richness that never goes out of style.

Turns out I was right three years ago. I just had the parts in the wrong order.

Christian Zilko

Guest Blogger:

Christian Zilko

Chasing Elegance
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Simplicity is the utmost sophistication.
— Leonardo da Vinci
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