Today while I ate a breakfast of coconut granola I began watching the Netflix docuseries Abstract: The Art of Design. The morning was a perfect time to watch it as it fueled the rest of my day on thoughts of creativity. Each episode takes you into the work life of a particular artist in their field. Crawling into the mind of an artist, or anyone for that matter is an exciting and curious thought. To see how they get inspired, how they create something original.
As an artist, I want to absorb any inspiration I can get to help me become a better at what I do. But you don’t need to be an in same profession to get inspired by these artists. Creativity is an abstract way of thinking and applies to most things in life. From cooking to cleaning, it can be useful in problem-solving, sparking innovation, or even just entertainment for your brain.
The first episode is centered on German illustrator Christoph Niemann. He is a wildly creative and talented visual storyteller whose art has graced the cover of the New Yorker magazine on many occasions. For me, seeing his work creates moments of excitement and fear. Excitement, because it inspires me to want to create something as clever, and fear because I think I may never attain such success.
With beautiful cinematography and humor interlaced, you are taken on the journey of Niemann in his everyday working life, from seeking out inspiration while walking in New York city to sitting in his studio and exploring playful moments of brainstorming and bringing visuals to life through painting or building Lego blocks.
He shows the process of taking real life places or objects and distilling down to the simplest and most direct way of communication. “The abstraction, for me, is this idea of getting rid of everything that’s not essential to making a point,” says Neimann.
After watching this episode, I came away recognizing the importance of practice and time devoted to creative exploration. While it’s relieving to learn that it is a challenge for him to be creative under deadlines, to know I’m not alone, it’s also nice to see him energized by that pressure too and how exciting it can be!
Below is a trailer for this episode:
If you’re interested in seeing more artists at work, I recommend checking out the Society6 YouTube channel.
Here’s one video featuring artist Tanya Shatseva that I like in particular: