Everyone has a talent. Most of us, though, weren’t born with the artistic skill to design things for the world’s top companies.
These are the geniuses who design your car. And your shoes. And that incredible stage at the rock concert. They’re the people behind the scenes who make the world colorful and unique — and they’re always looking forward, into the future.
They also rarely get front-page publicity … until now.
The new Netflix documentary Abstract: The Art of Design, probes the minds of the world’s top designers, examining the art, science and philosophy of their creations.
Season 2, which launched in recent days, includes six episodes featuring such individuals as Jonathan Hoefler, who worked for the Obama campaign, and Ruth E. Carter, who won an Oscar for her costume designs for Black Panther.
But if politics and movies aren’t your thing, then consider watching Season 1, which spotlighted individuals such as Tinker Hatfield, who designed Michael Jordan’s Nike shoes, and Es Devlin, who designed concert stages for U2.
Each episode features an interview with the designer but also with friends and co-workers who know them. It also probes the reasons behind their designs — and how they changed society forever.
“Tinker is a mad scientist,” Jordan says in the series.
It is one of my favorite new documentaries, even it’s not fully family-friendly. Abstract is rated TV-14 and, unfortunately, includes minor language (the one on Tinker Hatfield had three coarse words, including s–t). But if you can overlook that one flaw, you’ll be entertained and inspired — and perhaps even motivated to do a little creation yourself.
We serve a creative God who created humans to be … well … creative. Abstract wonderfully demonstrates that simple truth.
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Also worth streaming:
Tall Girl (Netflix) — A high school girl gets bullied for her six-foot-one height but learns to be comfortable in her own skin. This Netflix original comedy has a few caveats — minor language and a few kissing scenes — but has a great message about beauty for today’s teens. It also has quirky Napoleon Dynamite-type comedy that had me laughing out loud. Rated TV-PG. It began streaming in September.
Superman Returns (Netflix) — Superman returns to earth after a five-year absence to learn the world is much different than when he left. For starters, Lois Lane has written an article titled, “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman.” But not everything is different: Lex Luthor is still on the loose. The film includes minor language, which you can cut out on Vudu’s new streaming service. Rated PG-13 for some intense action violence. Oct 1.
Amazing Grace (Hulu) — It’s an inspirational trip back in time to 1972, when Aretha Franklin recorded a new album in front of an audience at New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. It’s so good you just might get Holy Ghost goosebumps. Rated G. Oct. 2.
Carmen Sandiego, Season 2 (Netflix) — The thief-turned-good girl continues her travels around the globe to stop the evil organization V.I.L.E., which is comprised of bad guys who want to steal. Along the way, children learn about geography. Rated TV-Y7-FV. Oct. 1.
The Beverlys (Pureflix) — This musical comedy is aimed at children, tweens and teens and features Christian recording artist Jamie Grace — and plenty of Disney-like goofy humor. The plot spotlights three orphaned girls who are taken in by a failed recording executive but who dream of forming their own group. It began streaming in September.
–Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and entertainment more than 15 years.