According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, color is a phenomenon of light (as red, brown, pink, or gray) or visual perception that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects. Color to me not only sets apart objects but creates mood. Its power is unmistakable and overlooked.
Isaac Newton discovered the theory behind color. He was a pioneer and in 1967 published his controversial paper on “colour.” By passing a beam of sunlight through a prism, Newton discovered that the light that came out was different colors: Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red. As a result, Newton concluded that white light was made up of seven different colored rays.
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “As well as having emotional and aesthetic effects, colors are used in social life to amuse, to entertain, to delight, to shock, to impress, to astound, to warn, to attract, to be enjoyed, and so on, in contexts having to do with pageantry, ceremonial, courtship, painting, lighting, plays, clothing, dining, drinking, and so on.”
Colors reflect human behavior, emotion, and have different meanings globally. For example red in Western Culture means love and danger, in India purity, in China happiness and good luck, and in Nigeria wealth, vitality, and aggression. In Western Culture the color white means marriage and peace, in China and India death, and in Nigeria good luck. Green in the United States means money and environmental awareness, in China exorcism and infidelity, and in Indonesia it’s a forbidden color.
Universally, color is used to determine gender. Pink for baby girls and blue for baby boys is the cultural “norm.” Artist JeongMee Yoon has been investigating this phenomena since 2005. She found her daughter’s obsession with the color pink interesting and wanted to devote her art practice to investigating how color transcends different cultures by gender.
What’s your favorite color?
“Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.” Pablo Picasso