What is color? How does it affect what we see? How does it effect our emotions? Color plays an essential part in not only the visual arts but in all aspects of life. Could you imagine a world or black, white and grey? Color transcends the ordinary into the extraordinary. Color is such an individualized experience for each and every person. The experiences and travels of life are different for everyone and plays into the experience of color and the feeling or emotions that it can evoke. Color can remind us of a specific place, memory, or feeling. It can even transport us to a different time.
This spring I am in an art practices class. The first class project was a two-part project. The first part was the creation of a color wheel with the use of full saturation colors, tints, shades and the neutrals of all the colors on a traditional color wheel. I did not find this first part of the project particularly engaging but it was not without value.
Color has always been something that has challenged me in my work. Anything from the color mixing to the choice of color and emotions or feelings you are trying to achieve through a particular work. The process of the color mixing was enlightening and I felt some kind of color light bulb turn on. For that experience, I will be forever grateful. The actual process of painting the color wheel I found to be a tedious and ungratifying assignment. A lot of work went into without much return. As I look back, I know it had value.
The second part of this assignment I found very engaging. Part two of the assignment was to create a temporary art installation of 1″ color pieces, minimum of 100 pieces. The placement and design of the installation needed to take the environment it was being placed in. During one of the many conversations we had in class, I latched onto the concept of color bias and how color adjacencies can affect the color the brain interprets. Neuro-science is fascinating so I decide to focus the installation as a study of the concepts of color bias and adjacencies.
I chose to place the installation outdoors on the school campus. well because its nature. Knowing that it was going to be outside, I chose to use plexi-glass for the materials. I chose them for durability and just happened to have some left over pieces on hand. “Use what you have” philosophies.
I chose purple and yellow complimentary colors along with a handful of black and white pieces. I think my thoughts with the white and black pieces were to see how they would also affect the color of the adjacent pieces. There were pieces painted with full saturation, tint, shade and neutrals of each of the colors. Then there was a mix of their complimentary color full saturation, tint, shade or neutral added to all of the color pieces to study how they adjacencies and natural light affected the perceived colors.
The next step in the process was to figure out a mounting system for the plexi-glass. One of the main mounting criteria was that it needed to be temporary but could not damage the environment it was being placed in any manner. After considering several options. I decide some common nails glued to the back of the plexi- glass. I used common 4″ nails found at any local hardware store. The nails were glued to the plexi-glass with my favorite E6000 epoxy. It worked quite nicely. I was happy with the results.
The process of making the installation pieces was fun and very engaging. The next step was to get the installation setup on campus. Off I headed to the location with all the pieces, back-up tools, and extra epoxy. I had a design layout all plotted in my head on how to arrange the installation. I had about half of the pieces laid out and realized my vision was much larger than the number of pieces that I had made. I tried a few different configurations before I settled on something that actually worked for the space. The final configuration was in clusters around the trunk of a really cool tree. The tree added interest and also some different lighting scenarios depending on the time of day you were seeing the installation.
Overall, I was pleased with the outcome of the installation. Are there some things I would have done differently? Absolutely!
It made me realize the importance of starting in the environment. To make the art fit the environment and not make the environment fit the art.
I found the process of making the pieces for the installation much more engaging than actual installation of the work on site. This reaffirmed that I am definitely about the process of getting somewhere. It’s all about the journey.
Upclose look of the installation. Keep in mind I have never claimed to be a videographer.