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The Beauty of Code: A Painting Series

Coding is an art. Its form and function are intertwined. Stacked in simple and neat lines, code can address the world’s greatest challenges and create opportunities we never thought possible.

Before immersing myself in the security world, I ran art galleries on both coasts; New York and Laguna Beach. Besides the commercial aspect of art, I enjoy the act of creating. My drawings, designs and paintings take inspiration from painters like Christopher Wool, Barbara Krueger, Sam Francis, Jackson Pollock and graphic designer David Carson. 

At Obsidian, I see parallels between my craft and what our engineers do everyday. The lines of code on their monitors may be to enrich the data of an organization’s user population but, to me, I see the stippled brushstrokes of an impressionist painter.

I have brought together my passion for art and my career in cybersecurity to create a series of prints that focus on the beauty of code. Each piece blends my love for watercolor, my background in graphic design, and my admiration for the power of code. 

I’ll be sharing two new paintings each week until the end of 2019. I hope you’ll stay tuned.

1. Code Red

The first in the series is “Code Red,” which is a homage to Ryan Permeh, the co-founder and chief scientist at Cylance Inc. I had the honor of working with Ryan while I supported Cylance’s executive team from 2015-2017. He is a leader that has as much dedication to his team as passion for the products he creates. In 2001 when he served as the Founding Software Engineer at eEye, Ryan and co-founder Marc Maiffret discovered a worm that was targeting the US Gov and multinational corporations. While the worm was unable to penetrate the White House, major corporations lost billions of dollars in damages. They named the worm “Code Red” because they were drinking Code Red Mountain Dew at the time they confirmed the worm was a threat.

2. Apollo 11 Project

The Apollo 11 space program holds deep significance to me because my dad was a telemetry engineer at North American Rockwell in the 60s. Their operations facility in Downey, California focused extensively on testing the command and service modules before they shipped to Cape Canaveral. This testing insured Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins made it back to earth safely. The Apollo 11 project consists of thousands of lines of code with easter eggs peppered throughout, revealing the camaraderie of the original programming team. “Please crank the silly thing around” in one comment, for example, refers to the repositioning of the antenna for the landing radar. “Off to see the wizard…” in another leaves us imagining how excited the engineers must’ve felt as their code successfully ran. The code that put us on the moon is a marvel given the limited software tools available at the time.

Last updated 11/18/2019. Sunny Volkert