Mad Max’s Creative Junk

Have you seen Mad Max:Fury Road? Two thumbs up. It’s weird and cool and it’s my particular brand of cat’s pajamas. Say what you will about the plot and character development (or lack thereof) but the art direction on the cars, costumes, set, and special effects? Rad.

I nerd-ed out and read a lot of articles about the creative process behind the movie. In Abbie Bernstein’s book, The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road, this quote from the director of the film, George Miller, really stuck out:

“Even in the Wasteland, people make beautiful things.”

Even in a post-apocalypse desert world where the War Boys have only scraps of surviving materials at their disposal, they (read: the creative team) managed to turn junk into works of art. The outcome? Overwhelming effort. For example, instead of that final fleet of gorgeous, multi-functional vehicles, designers and developers probably could have created something much simpler, in far less time, that still met their needs.

But that’s the point – these cars weren’t purely functional or purely beautiful. They were both, and that’s what makes them so incredibly creative. As Callahan Creek Creative Director and Creative Boot Camp author, Stefan Mumaw, so perfectly expressed in a 2013 HOW Design article:

“Creativity is problem solving with relevance and novelty, nothing more, nothing less.”

Here’s my sappy takeaway from a movie that’s anything but sappy. Sometimes creating something beautiful out of a seemingly worthless piece of junk (like Doof Warrior’s double-necked, flame-throwing axe made from bedpans) keeps you going. Even in our own wastelands of stress, burnout, or fatigue, take a cue from Mad Maxwork with what you’ve got and make something beautifully badass.

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