The first time I saw the above quote was on Instagram. It sent me wandering along wondering villa – I go there quite a lot – ‘without color, would art be eh… too?’
It reminded me of my fine art lessons in secondary school – we were taught the basics of fine art; history, types, style etc. – I cannot remember any of those now so don’t bother asking for a lecture.But I know I was fascinated by colors, I would put every color I can find on a drawing. Color the covers of my books, color old calendars, I just added more colors to anything that already had colors. The more the merrier right?
I did the same when I first fell in love with photography, I would enhance the colors of a picture, increase the saturation and hue until the pictures looked surreal. Because obviously the more unrealistic the color is, the more beautiful the picture.
I still see the same theory now across social media, thanks to photo editing apps and their huge archive of filters, the color mixing never ends. Make-up artist /stylist are not left out, they seem convinced that the more layers of foundation applied on a woman’s face, with contrasting eyeliner, lip gloss and whatever they can find in the make-up kit, the better — a peacock is a very beautiful bird because of its avalanche of colors right?
I notice the same trend in children’s coloring book and in cartons or to put it more respectfully ‘anime’. The colors are always breathtaking, you see a mixture that sweeps you off your feet and you find yourself tumbling in the pit of love. Quite amazing that feeling is.
Then Black and white came into the picture — a side chic that ousted the main chic. And I understood to a degree what Steve Jobs once said, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” For the more is not always the merrier and ironically less is even more. This might seem confusing at first glance but take a second look and let it sink in.
My love for colors kinda mirrors how I see life. Most of us see life as a collection of so many beautiful random events. We throw in everything and grab whatever we can find. We paint amazing scenes right to the details of how life should be. We splash so many beautiful colors into it that even though it looks unrealistic we believe it should remain so. It’s a dream, and dreams ought to be extraordinary. We figure beauty is more; the more curves she has, the better. The bulkier he is, the better. The more brilliant the little kid is, the better.
Our wishes are always filled with more and more and more. We need more color, we do not care about balance. I believe every good visual artist/curator/designer/developer have this figured out. But they have kept it from society by brandishing it in the open.
Let us do a little mental exercise. Think about some of the most amazing brands you’ve stumbled on. The pictures that ‘took your breath away’, the app on your phone you cannot do without, and that favorite dress you grab when you do not have time to choose what to wear.
Think about your favorite movie, the most memorable line and the movie poster that got stuck in your head. Think about your favorite book, the bible verse you cannot forget, and also about the process of operating a light switch. Think of what all these things you have thought about have in common. Then think about how it relates to what you have been reading, did you find a connection? If not, repeat the process. How many times did you repeat it before discovering the connection?
If you did at the first time of asking don’t be too excited, if you still can’t after a thousand tries don’t be moody either. It might be because I made finding the connection so easy or I made it insanely difficult.
Can you find the connection now?
We have come to a point in human existence were meaning is in beauty and beauty is in more, and more has to be colorful because it’s what magical is. We consider sophistication the difficult things we cannot grab at a glance and special has to be anything but simple, efficient and effective.
Ironically as with all things human, we have this figured out in anything but our actual living. It’s why we use fewer colors to paint our houses, and why the default mode of MS Word is black font and a white background. It is the same reason you do not need to understand codes and syntax to operate your phone.And also why the sky is mostly blue and not that amazing mix of colors we sometimes see. It is also why the flowers of diverse colors never outnumber the green leaves in a tree. The secret is found in how God designed the earth, picking simple things and combining them into one complex whole.
It is simple yet difficult.
Finally, if we must color things special, we should learn that special is not only found in the elaborate, it is woven deep in simplicity.