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response to the color blue

For studio, I reflected on the varied emotional states of the color blue. This assignment was intentionally open ended, almost to a point of dizzying freedom. The overwhelming nature of this prompt brought me to think about my personal connotations with the color blue. The prompt provided the emotional palette of lucid, serious, mighty, serene and melancholic. I believe blue is the jacknife of all colors, so I felt like blue in the context of this project deserved to be approached as a multimedia piece.

When brainstorming, Saint James Infirmary was the first blue thing that came to my mind. It’s a song about a man picking his wife up from the morgue. It uses blues scales and feels heavy in a lot of ways. The slow swinging song feels as heavy and potent as the role of blue in paintings. I composed and played a cover of this song with trombone, drum programming, synths, bass and piano. So much of what we see is colored by what we hear, so it made sense to spend a lot of time working on creating sounds that sounded right for the color. Using lots of low harmonics represented a deep blue for me, because I associated the timbre (color) of instruments with colors. Higher timbres usually feel warm and orange/red, while lower, deeper timbres feel blue/ purple.

I never paint with acrylic, and honestly that’s what I thought I’d be doing at art school. I took this opportunity to pick up a paintbrush and find out what big brushstrokes of blue feels like. I initially thought of painting a canvas, but I don’t have space for one in my small dorm room. I needed a new skateboard and decided to make a functional piece. I painted the bottom of the board phalto blue which felt like the ocean. This blue feels like movement of the tides or of my body when I’m skating circles in the park. I painted the words “vessel” on the top because I believe that this plank of wood is a vessel that contains my experience, represented here through color.

I made additional small scale studies of blue in small paintings and drawings that I scanned in and manipulated to fit in the context of this video. I wish I made more of these, but the animation on the flowers took so long that I couldn’t do more of them in this time frame.

One of the videos that inspired me to make this work was a video by my favorite hip hop artist, milo. This video was an “advertisement” of sorts for his upcoming album. It’s visually simple, but potent. He made the music and then threw up a tag on his shed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS-dda4pWiI

If I had more time, I would have made the whole piece longer and filmed scenes that added meaning to the color blue instead of just accidental backgrounds. Overall, I am happy with the end product, however this should serve only as a starting point to further interdisciplinary studies for this class.


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