April 5, 2016 § Leave a comment
COLOR AND EMOTION:
A PERSPECTIVE ON WARHOL
Several months ago, I received an email from one of the curators of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. They had seen the work I had written for the Agnes Martin* exhibit at the Tate Modern in London and wondered if I could do a presentation in Bilbao. It took me all of a half minute to make up my mind, as I have long wanted to visit the Guggenheim in that location. So I said yes before I even knew the subject!
It turns out that the subject I was asked to address is Andy Warhol, the pop artist icon of the 1950s-1980s, as the Guggenheim is currently showing two of Andy’s most ambitious works: Shadows
and One Hundred and Fifty Multicolored Marilyns.
One of the most enjoyable things about doing presentations is collecting the research that is such as important part of the talk. I had done some research on Warhol for one of my books, The 20th Century in Color, and had some preliminary information to start with. Of course, Warhol is all about color and that made it especially interesting to me.
I turned to one of my favorite art historians, Sister Wendy Beckett. In her book: 1,000 Masterpieces, 1999, DK Publishing, New York, there is an overview on Andy Warhol’s work that is titled the Marilyn Diptych — a colorful study of the actress, Marilyn Monroe, who is also the subject of one of the collections mentioned above: One Hundred and Fifty Multicolored Marilyns. Sister Wendy said of Warhol: “He was interested in what might be described as contemporary vulgarities. He loved glamour and fame…
…here was a subject for Warhol and he treated her with profundity.” Sister Wendy suggested that his use of vibrant colors on half of the images signified Marilyn’s life and the removal of color in the other half signified her death. By using Marilyn’s image repeatedly, he “acknowledged his fascination with a society in which personas could be manufactured, commodified, and consumed like products.”
The color palette used for the grounds of the Shadows includes more than a dozen different hues, certain colors that are characteristic of his larger body of work, including violet, aqua, chartreuse, apricot, hot pink, and black. To quote from the Guggenheim’s press release on the collections: “Unlike the surfaces of earlier paintings, in which thin layers of rolled acrylic paint constituted the backgrounds onto which black pixelated images were silkscreened, the backgrounds of the Shadows canvases were painted with a sponge mop. Seven or eight different screens were used to create Shadows, as evidenced in the slight shifts in scales of dark areas as well as the arbitrary presence of spots of light.”
As always, there is much to learn about observing the use of color in different mediums and Warhol’s work certainly is an example of a most prolific career. Check out the images that are posted on this blog and you will get a glimpse of his versatility and depth. His work is certainly not just about Campbell’s Soup cans!
We worked out the date for the visit to Bilbao so that it dovetails with our trip to Salone de Mobilier in Milan, a destination for us every year to that fabulous furniture fair. My associate, Melissa Bolt, is going with me and she will be taking lots of images of the museum and the surrounding areas that we will be sharing with you in a future blog posting.
*See archives Eiseman Color Blog Aug. 15, 2015
Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the internationally famous Pantone Color Institute, will offer a different look at Andy Warhol’s work, particularly his works Shadows and One Hundred and Fifty Multicolored Marilyns, and his peculiar way of using colors. An expert in color psychology, Eiseman will talk about the emotional perception of color from the perspective of culture and association.
Venue: Museum Auditorium
Date and time: Monday, April 11, 6:30 pm
Free tickets available at the admission desk and on the website
January 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
There is still time to secure your spot in the January 2016 Color/Design Class in Burbank, CA.
Please email us at Leiseman@nwlink.com for more information.
December 22, 2015 § Leave a comment
December 22, 2015
Recently, I had the great pleasure of visiting my colleague and former student, Rami Kim, in Seoul, Korea. She owns and runs an academy of color where she teaches classes on many aspects of color (visit rcgcolor.com). Her multi-age school offers programs for young children all the way through adulthood, and caters to color professionals and non-pros alike.
She truly has a passion for color and feels, just as I do, that color education never stops. It is ever-evolving and even though some color tenets can remain the same, such a the classic color wheel, Rami agrees that there is now a lot more space for new ideas emerging about color from various cultures and that is one of the reasons for her coming to my classes in the U.S. She also agrees that staying on top of the emotional color cues, as well as the newest trends in color, is more important than ever.
Rami’s background is quite amazing. She had a serious automobile accident while still a student and was hospitalized for three months. During that time and at a young age, she decided to pursue her passion for color and developed the concept of what eventually became her color academy.
Starting with just two students, she eventually built her school into a thriving and respected business. While in Seoul I visited her school and met with four members of her staff. It was a special day for all of us!!
November 12, 2015 § 6 Comments
What color-lover doesn’t love Fall with all its shades of gold and orange, browns and rusty-reds? But how often do we think of some of the other fall colors as, well, fall colors?
There is, for those of us in the northwestern corner of the United States and similar climates, a wistfulness at the sight of our lush green trees of summer turning the corner towards fall with their leaves accepting a coral tinge. But what a fresh spring palette this appears to be!
Soon enough, an entire page of Pantone® corals…..
… is lighting up the view from our office…
…and we settle in and appreciate the wonder of Mother Nature’s color combinations.
October 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
October 26, 2015
One of my students recently asked me how it is that someone is able to pull off different Colortimes®. (Colortime® refers to my system for determining one’s best personal image colors based on hair color, eye color, and skin tone.) Here is my answer:
Anyone who has constant access to professional stylists or the money and time to constantly change their “look” could probably dress in any Colortime® they choose, depending on a whim or their mood. This is why you see someone like Olivia Wilde looking so different in many photos.
Julianne Moore is another excellent example of how her looks are changed for various photo shoots. If she chooses to wear an emerald green dress to an awards dinner, her makeup artist will likely use on her a very fair, cool tone foundation and play up the green in her eyes. Her stylists know how to advise on all of this—that’s why she always looks so good.
Celebrities also have the benefit of being under flattering lighting be it for TV, film, stage, or photo shoots where flaws can be corrected, and these “tricks of the trade” are always available to them. There are also the “fashionistas” and “creatives” who enjoy changing their looks from day to day—they really embrace the process.
However, there is the reality of the woman or man who has little time, a limited budget, or just doesn’t have the know-how to make calculated style changes. He wants to know that all his ties go with his suits. She wants to reach into her makeup drawer and pull out cosmetics that work for her coloring. This is where starting out in a basic Colortime® makes so much sense. Many of us want a method that is reliable, a color palette that will look good and be so well coordinated that it doesn’t take much time or money to feel confident. A Colortime® consultant teaches the basics of the theory and demonstrates its practical application.
What is your best chameleon moment?
October 7, 2015 § 2 Comments
October 7, 2015
As some of you may know, my husband, Herb, is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His career in film and music has certainly helped me to be more aware of the importance of film in formulating public notions about color and design. We subscribe to many periodicals and view many of the films nominated for Academy Awards, and I am constantly researching film archives as well as present-day films to better inform my work in forecasting.
I was recently watching the trailer for the film Suffragette and was instantly captured by the story about the fight for the women’s right to vote. It is hard to deny the value of the movement and the importance of this period of time considering that we as a nation benefit from this movement.
I have read many books and seen some notable film, television, and stage shows about the early Suffrage efforts, so I wanted to highlight one compelling point of this particular movie that is almost a supporting character: the color used to convey the mood of this film.
In my talks this past year, I have been discussing the use of “umbered undertones” in current and future films. That expression comes from the somewhat murky tones that are being seen in both children’s films, where so many color stories come from, as well as films for grown-ups. Those more somber tones often reflect the nature, theme, mood, or historic setting of a particular film.
Suffragette reflects a historic time period when there were no Technicolor films, and the theme of the film is a rather sobering subject—women’s struggles in the pre-1920’s to get enacted their legal right to vote, and the indignities and abuse they suffered—hardly the stuff of bright Technicolor effects! Interestingly, the American suffragette colors of violet, white, and gold were very similar to the green, white, and violet carried by their British counterparts. It is believed that the British Suffragettes chose those shades because they represented the first letters of each color and translated into: “Give (green) Women (white) Votes (violet.)
We can expect these “umbered” tones to have a long shelf-life because of films like Mockingjay Part One, which was part of the popular Hunger Games series. Part Two will come this Fall, and the stage show will appear in 2016. Some TV shows are also showing these same effects. Super Girl of 2015 is wearing more somber colored garb than sported by Linda Carter in the Wonder Woman series of the 1970s.
If you were choosing colors to represent the cause of the suffragettes, what colors would you choose and why?
September 24, 2015 § Leave a comment
September 24, 2015
Kartell is an Italian company that makes and sells plastic contemporary furniture. Headquartered in Milan, they began manufacturing automobile accessories in 1949 and expanded into contract and home furnishings in 1963.
They have now forged an interesting partnership with one of the most imaginative fashion designers with a long-standing reputation in the use of unique color and pattern combinations. Christian LaCroix became the darling of the fashion runways in the 80s, but the 90s and early 2000s saw a decline in both business and attention. However, in recent years, we have seen his name on the ascendancy again, this time combining with “Kartell à la Mode,” as it is being called, in creating and producing a new handbag line.
Available in two sizes, a tote and a clutch bag, the fabrication is injection-molded plastic, a material that Kartell is referring to as “rich and sensual,” certainly not the usual connotation and impression of plastic. The shapes are geometric in design and both styles will be available in five colors, although those five colors have not been named yet.
Kartell has a recent history of producing some other intriguing, industrial–inspired molded plastic in inventive fashion forward looks and, very recently, they partnered with No.21, a Milanese shoe manufacturer. Called “The Knot,” the provocative and intricate styling on the sandal is quite unique, one that takes special skills to make. It is available in five colors: black, powder pink, mustard yellow, khaki green, and burgundy.
The look of the shoes fits very well into the influences we saw recently in Paris. Stilettos have given way to much lower heels, with sneakers being the “shoe du jour” in every imaginable color, pattern and, most often, with sparkle.
Question: What do you think of the color range of the Knot? Would you wear this kind of shoe?
September 15, 2015 § 3 Comments
September 15, 2015
If you didn’t know already, I travel…a LOT! My most recent trip was to Maison & Objet, a lifestyle uber tradeshow featuring all things “design.” It takes place at an exhibition center outside of Paris and covers 246,000 square meters or about 61 acres.
My traveling companion, assistant, and color/design associate, Melissa Bolt, walked every inch of the show with me, photographing our foray into the stadium-size halls.
We became immediately aware of the presence of design trends we have noted in recent seasons:
Eyeglasses as wall art and part of home décor accessories,…
…Owls peering from their perches,…
…Butterflies still flying high,…
…Shoes as wearable art,…
… crowns that are not exclusively for royalty,
…and concentric circles, as seen in these South African wire bowls
to name just a few.
August 31, 2015 § Leave a comment
August 27, 2015 § 4 Comments
August 27, 2015
My good friend and colleague, Patricia Nugent, curator of a surprisingly vast textile collection, opened her nearby Seattle showroom to us so that my Color/Design Associate, Melissa Bolt, and I could hunt for special fabrics from Pat’s collection for our latest book, coming out early next year. Not only is a visit to Pat’s studio a walk down memory lane in terms of all the vintage fabrics in her collection, but it is also a study in the kind of quality and artistry that attracts top designers from around the globe for inspiration. Thank you, Pat!
Okay, if you must know, the book takes a look at interiors via the Color Clock™ system I developed for my book More Alive With Color.
Can you determine what Colortime® and/or what decade each of these vintage fabrics illustrates?