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Thursday March 30, 2023.

MudCorp is the studio of Takashi Okamoto specializing in graphic design, web design, technology art and software & hardware implementation. Our services include website designing and programming, custom e-commerce and content management systems, hardware and software solutions for interactive kiosks, signage design for electronic displays, technology consulting and any other project that involves both design and technology.
For new business inquires or If you want to say hello, please use the contact form to send me a message. I will respond as soon as possible.
Takashi Okamoto is a graphic designer, programmer and technology artist living and working in North America. His illustrations have appeared in magazines and newspapers including: The New York Times, The National Post and Shift Magazine. As a graphic designer, he has worked with studios including 2x4, Stiletto, Village and artists Ben Rubin and Natalie Jeremijenko. His technology based art has been exhibited in Canada and Mexico. He holds a (Hons) BSc in astrophysics from the University of Toronto, a MFA in graphic design from Yale University and a SM from the MIT Media Lab, where he studied under Professor John Maeda in the Physical Language Workshop. Currently, he is a partner at BuzaMoto.


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Punk Rock Programming Saved My Life
Takashi Okamoto (12/13/05)

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Everybody has a savior; commonly a religious, spiritual, or political leader. But for those of us who stay clear of anything religious or spiritual, or are too cynical for politics; we have to depend on something else. I’ve heard the line, “Punk Rock saved my life” many, many times — to the point it’s a total cliché. Sadly, I personally can’t claim that Punk Rock saved my life. Being a wannabe punk, I wish I could say that, but it hasn't — instead, Programming saved my life.

Programming...growing up, I was never really into programming. I loved technology and video games, which also made me love computers; but I always thought that programming was lame and a waste of time (but at the same time thanked the dedicated hacker nerds who spend the time writing software I use.) Programming is manual labor. Someone comes up with an idea, then you get someone to do the dirty job of coding. And for a long time, I felt that I could always hire someone to do the dirty work.

I got through high school, doing little programming; actually, I got through high school doing as little as possible — just enough to make sure I got into the university I wanted to go to (and lets be honest, you don’t have to be a genius to get in to any college, except maybe Harvard or MIT.) When you study theoretical anything in college, you tend to be a purist...and astrophysics is no exception. Everything you solve is an ideal situation leading to an ideal solution. Solving equations didn't involve numbers. Just a bunch of letters and integers. So programming was only required when doing any sort of numerical calculations — which in my elitist, purist mind was too blue collar (not to mention I was too lazy.)

Web programming on the other hand, I never really thought of it as programming. Well, when I first started, it wasn’t in the same league as real programming. I guess as web programming matured and became more versatile, it became an actual development platform, and I started warming up to programming.

As a graphic designer, I always hated art/design directors. They take all the credit and they just tell you what to do, even though it’s obvious that you know what is in the best interest for the project, since you are much more invested. Also, I always thought that craftsmanship was essential to design. Which means that you need to be involved at the production level of design. How do you ever take credit for something you didn’t invest blood and sweat into.

I guess at some point at the end of undergrad, I began having similar thoughts about programming. As I started programming more projects, I started to realize it wasn’t such a mechanical process, but very crafty and artistic. It’s the same way as coming up with an elegant solution to a physics problem or a mathematical proof. In visual art and design terms, it’s the stuff that makes you say Woah...a love at first sight.

Programming becomes artistic, in literary form. There is a sense of simplicity and elegance in programming, much like haiku. There’s even a visual component of how the code is structured, and even various programming languages have aesthetic value. For instance, C++ is such an ugly language compared to Objective-C (in my opinion) and Perl is just messy scribbles compared to the clean object precision of Ruby.

But back to the point of this essay. How did programming save my life? Easy. It gave me something to do. Physics and art do the same thing for me as well. It’s so hard, it will keep you busy your whole life. Just look at Newton or Einstein. It also keeps social rejects like me from becoming a crazy. Sitting at home on a friday night? Might as well pick up a programming book and start coding something. Or start designing or make art or come up with a more elegant mathematical proof. I guess it’s all the same. The thing that saves your life is the thing that makes you so passionate about, you forget about everything else. Punk Rock is too cool for me, instead I’ll stick to programming, physics and math...and graphic design (the nerdy east-coast kind, not the hipster California-style bullshit!)

Now the question is, what are you passionate about?