“That it was possible to make money out of one’s hobby was something I was to remember when writing became my passion,” wrote Ruskin Bond, when recollecting about his father’s stamp collecting hobby that made them some money later. This encouraged Bond to write and make his passion, writing, his career. Ruskin Bond is one of the most loved and celebrated writers in our country today.
Doctors, engineers, CA’s, IPS officers, MBA, are the most common careers Indian parents choose, whilst deciding for their children. Growing up in a family which mostly had doctors and engineers, I was pleasantly surprised when my mother suggested BMM (Bachelor of Mass Media) to me. And like many kids in Mumbai, I too got myself a DSLR after watching Wake Up Sid!
Unconventional careers are often feared, because they don’t guarantee success or least a job. Hence, parents of most media, art and design professionals worry if their offsprings will ever settle with a steady career. As art and/or design is often treated strictly as a hobby. But there are many who follow their passion and go ahead with that idea to carve a niche for themselves.
This week my recommendation is about eight such phenomenally talented designers in an eight episode documentary series, Netflix original Abstract: the art of design.
Logline: step inside the minds of the most innovative designers in a variety of disciplines and learn how design impacts every aspects of life.
Each episode of an average of 50 minutes introduces these eight designers, their art, body of work, working style and journey so far. It’s exciting to watch illustrator Christoph Niemann thinking, sketching, illustrating for his upcoming project: the cover of New Yorker magazine. As it is exciting to watch Es Devlin, the London based stage designer, talk about her experience designing stage for several Shakesparean plays to setting the stage for Beyoncé. Or watch Tinker Hatfield, the famous Nike shoes designer, share his experience of designing self-lacing shoes, for the film Back to the future 2 that became a rage. And Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, who with his building designs has put Denmark on the map, for one of the coolest building designs in the world. His reasons of how and why he designed a particular building, its effect on the Eco system, people living in it, etc. is a fascinating discovery. Then there is the automotive designer Ralph Gillies, graphic designer Paula Scher, photographer Platon and interior designer Ilse Crowford. Each and every episode/documentary is so refreshing! Abstract is one of those series which you can watch in one go or you can binge watch an episode a day. Created by former Wired editor-in-chief Scott Dadich, this documentary series is rated 8.6 on the IMDB.
Abstract is shot extremely well and thankfully does not have stereotypical documentary format of interviews shot in sharp lights against dark backgrounds or dim lights and lots of music. Each episode, has its own colour palate that reflects the mood and personality it is featuring. Graphic and stop animation to slow motion shots to make the episode dramatic, are one of the few tricks used in Abstarct, that peel off layer by layer and helps the audience dwell deeper into the designers’ minds.
This series is a reminder to all of us who underestimate art and design in our day to day lives. Because sometimes it’s okay to not think conventionally, sometimes it’s okay to think abstract.
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