The shades that shape

Have you ever been to a dentist’s cabinet with walls painted red ? How would you like to swim in a thick black water ? Have you ever tried to have an intimate date in a white neon lighted room ? Colors matter.

Everyone doesn’t experience colors the same way. In synesthesia, they are associated with sounds or shapes. Color blindness is the inability to see all of them. For most people though, there is a common perception about it, even if their symbolism can be different, depending on the culture one is from.


Color is a mean among others to express something. It is used to facilitate identification to society subjects, or as a code for the everyday life. Primary or secondary colors, they are all associated with sensations, seasons, ideas, everything.



Red stands out. Red is passion, anger, sex, warning, fire. Red is probably the most vivid and conspicuous color.

Canadian artist Julie Andrée T explores the symbolism of this color in her performance “Rouge”. Using everyday’s objects, red spray paint, or herself, she creates a visual landscape constantly changing, repeating the same question again and again, louder and louder: “What color is this?”. It’s red. Red and red and red.
By questioning relentlessly the color and what it means, she makes spectators question themselves about it and what it represents for them, thus completing the performance with their own vision.
But at which point “a lot” becomes “too much” ?



Blue is calm. It is deep, it is water and air. It can be light or heavy, and always versatile. It is even a kind of music.

The best known artist using this color is probably Yves Klein. He started to paint monochromes early in his career, before focusing exclusively on blue, inspired by the sky and the infinite space it promises.

The International Klein Blue (IKB) represents the artist’s way of creating paintings with this particular deep shade of blue: by using models covered in it.

(Anthropometries of The Blue Period and Fire Paintings ~ Yves Klein)



Green is earth, it’s nature. It is also often associated with everything evil and deadly. It is the opposite of red in everyday’s life: green means “go”.

Some street art artists, like Edina Tokodi or Anna Garforth, among others, have chosen green to convey an obvious and useful message. Using moss and grass, green graffiti artists create an ecological street art, giving to our urban jungles some much needed greenery. No need for more explanation, the color speaks for itself.


(Living Portrait ~ Edina Tokodi)



Color defines us. The color of our skin, of our eyes, of our hair. It also shapes most aspects of our lives.

With only three (magenta, yellow and cyan), what seems like an infinity of them can be created. The human eye can see about two million colors.

Therefore, the fun may never end.

(Colours ~ Charlie McCarthy)


(featured image: the Pantone Hotel in Brussels)




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