Why everybody should watch Netflix art series 'Abstract: The art of design'
You must watch this series because....
1. Cross into different worlds and discover new ways to see and be influenced
Throughout the series you'll learn how each creative has their own practice and personal experiences that have influenced their paths. For instance Paula Scher draws her inspirations from the daily interactions on the streets of New York. Always taking a cab so she can look out of the window and allow her mind to wander. Allow herself to gaze and subconsciously absorb all the typography in the world around her. Whereas Christoph Niemann can only work from his studio away from distractions. But you'll find the overall message of the series is discovering each artist is influenced in different ways. They break down their creative process and reveal lines on enquiry and research you perhaps would never have thought of. It is especially powerful, for me, to learn how creatives in other disciplines problem solve and overcome obstacles.
2. Learn how to produce high end, engaging and visual content for your audience
I mean the series in itself is a work of art. The filmmakers have created a highly polished piece of work that embodies the personality of each creative they follow. The series has the same thread running through it but each episode has unique storytelling aspects thats another layer of sophistication. Take the animation elements from Christoph Niemann's episode. A scene of him wandering the streets of Berlin is giving a new ounce of life and visual arrest, which pulls on the viewers attention but nicely complements Christoph personality and style. So if you are a filmmaker and producing a documentary I highly recommend you watch this for its execution and take ideas from it to use for your own delivery. Why not add an animation piece into your film?
3. Discover how passionate people create and get work done
Platon is a world renowned portrait photographer working for the likes of Time magazine. I perhaps should have watched his episode first as I am a photographer but what moves me with Platon is we learn about the guy behind the camera. You can really see that this is an artist who is motivated for all the right reasons. He recalls his journey as a photographer and the lengths he went to produce work that he had to make and continues to do today. Passion is only skimming the top when it comes to working on projects that each artist truly believes in. I also love the notion that professionals have to go to work in the morning and produce work. Power phrasing Christoph, "It's about showing up and getting started and then something amazing happens or doesn't happen. All that matters is you are enabling a chance to happen." Isn't that just pure poetry. Such a golden rule for everyone to take note of, just turn up and do the work.
4. The importance of 'play' and personal projects in your own lives breeds creativity
This is so beautiful. Each artist allows themselves the freedom required to wander and explore what lies within. So they don't practice their technique on a client commission. Paula Scher mentions the changing landscape of the graphic design industry has meant she isn't required to physically touch art materials as previously done pre 2005. So out of this loss at work she now devoted her time at home to the physical love of drawing and painting creating vast amounts of oversize maps of the USA. Because at the end of the day, this is what makes them happy and they can't envision a life without making and creating!
So thank you Netflix for commissioning a new wave of documentaries for us. They really are pushing the boundaries in terms of their documentary strand which just gets stronger. I'm a huge fan of their food and environment documentaries including award winning 'Black Fish', 'Food Inc' to a 'Plastic Ocean' which simply set twitter and subsequent online platforms into spasm. Which is amazing. Conversations and actions are resulting from one simple online platform. Giving filmmakers a voice. And a powerhouse like Netflix championing all types of filmmakers with varying level of budgets at their disposal. The real 1st world problem is how do we keep up with it all and consume all this content? I am here to highlight one of many beautiful documentaries...but I encourage you to go off your usual trodden path and try something new this weekend.
So over the weekend I did just that. I was bored of the usual TV blockbuster series and wanted to feed my mind. I love the odd travel documentary to reimagine my life overseas and to exploit the idea of being paid to take photos whilst exploring the beauty that is planet earth. I stumbled upon 'Expedition Happiness' which is pure painful and vibrant wrapped up in one. You'll have to watch it to understand what I mean! But that is the beauty of stumbling and wandering and trying stuff you wouldn't normally go for. I am a total convert and absolutely love getting lost in these different stories. And how I haven't stumbled on or Netflix recommended me, a photographer, this wonderful series on fellow creatives I do not know.
So let me shout from the rooftops how this one series has exploded my creative juices. Can't wait for season 2....fingers crossed!
What do you think? Which episode is your favourite and did I miss any vital nuggets of beauty that we can all learn from? And what shall I watch next?