An Introduction to Color Theory

Color theory is the science and art of using color. Color is a powerful element in art when used effectively as it can invoke specific emotions; be sure to check out my blog on color psychology. For artists, painters, and designers, color theory provides guidance on the relationship between colors and the physiological impacts of certain color combinations. By understanding color theory, you will better understand the relationship between colors and how we perceive them.  Color theory is complex, but today’s blog will cover just the basics. 

The general principles of color theory have existed since the 15th century, evident in the writings of figures including Leone Battista Alberti and Leonardo da Vinci. It wasn’t until the start of the 17th century that Sir Isaac Newton developed the first color wheel, a powerful tool still used to this day. Altogether, the color wheel consists of 12 colors: three primary colors, three secondary colors, and six tertiary colors. 

Primary colors allow artists to mix virtually any color on the spectrum. These are the building blocks for all other colors and cannot be created by mixing any other pigments. The primary colors are blue, yellow, and red. Secondary colors are created when any two of the primary colors. They are equidistant from each other on the color wheel and are orange, green, and violet. Tertiary colors are formed when mixing a primary color with a secondary color. 

There are a few terms in color theory that you will encounter, including hue, value, and saturation. Hue refers to the “root” color, and is often used similarly to color. It generally refers to the dominant wavelength of color out of the twelve colors on the color wheel. For example, the hue of navy is blue, or for burgundy, its hue is red. Value refers to how light or dark a color is. A color can be lightened with the addition of white and darkened by adding black. However, different colors can have the same value! Saturation is a measure of a color’s intensity or purity. To reduce the saturation of a color,  add grey or the color that is opposite of your color on the wheel. Adding the opposite color essentially neutralizes the colors, thus making it less intense. 

The Psychology Of Color (1)

The human brain is an incredible and complex system. We are continually taking in stimuli and processing on both subconscious and conscious levels. One aspect of natural life that we are always aware of, are colors. Our brain processes colors and what they mean every time we see a sweater, a piece of furniture, or a painting. Artist and marketing agencies alike are very aware that colors carry a psychological connotation. Commercials, advertisements, clothing brands, art shoes all use the psychology of color to appeal to an individual. 

 

Color psychology is defined as how colors affect perceptions and behaviors. The practice of color psychology is mostly dependent on how we use color to be primarily dependent on the experiences we have. We can’t assume that red represents passion for everyone. When we look at overall experiences for different demographics or geographical locations, we can make an educated guess on what common life experiences they are experiencing. From there, we can build a color profile on what colors may link to what feelings, thoughts, and memories. The bottom line is, there are no clearcut answers to which colors will be the most effective.

 

When creating an ad, marketing opportunity, or piece that needs to appeal to the human eye, try using some of these color categories in your art. 

 

Red

Red is a color that captures attention and draws the eye to it. Red is associated with danger, passion, energy, and action. In color, psychology red is usually classified as the most standout color. Famous brands like coco-cola and Youtube use red to draw attention to the product.

 

Yellow

The meaning behind yellow revolves around warmth and light. It evokes feelings of excitement, happiness, optimism, and positivity. Yellow is a cheery color that provides happy vibes and feelings. 

 

Keep an eye out for next month’s blog, where we will delve deeper into the psychology of color.

 

The World’s Best Street Art

Today, many cities commission artists to decorate walls, utility boxes, and selective areas as part of their beautification program. However, there are still artists and gangs around the world leaving their mark on the walls of their neighborhoods. Either way, street art has gained world recognition.

 

Street art has gained popularity in its expressive and uncensored nature. It also allows free viewing for those who are less inclined to visit a museum. Art within the environment is more likely to be seen and appreciated. These are five cities around the world with the most expressive street art.

 

Los Angeles

 

The City of Los Angeles considers graffiti illegal. Bold text and gang tags divide neighborhoods. As a result, L.A. commissions local artists to paint over graffiti and decorate its massive murals with colorful street art. Downtown’s Art District welcomes Latino heritage art on walls under freeways and neighborhoods. Guided tours are available to tourists for a more intimate look at the art on the walls.

 

London

 

North London in Camden or the Leake Street Tunnel near Waterloo are two places where street art is prevalent in London. The street art scene is huge in the neighborhoods of Shoreditch and Hackney. They are London’s locales for spray-painted walls such as Michelin-starred restaurants. Visitors can take a tour of Shoreditch to see London’s best artists.

 

Mexico City

 

Mexico City is the home to the most poetic, political, and traditional street art. Its neighborhoods of Juárez, Roma, and Condesa are known for the giant vivid murals. History and Latino culture are captured on the walls of businesses. Tours guided by graffiti artists are the best way to see Mexican art.

 

Buenos Aires

 

Both international and local artists have left their creative mark on massive murals on the streets of Buenos Aires. Political, traditional, and light-hearted collages adorn various neighborhoods (barrios). The barrios of San Telmo and Colegiales Crespos depict historical urban movements. Guided tours are the best way to connect street art with each barrio.

 

Berlin

 

Berlin’s graffiti-covered walls date back to the Cold War. The hip Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg borough houses the remaining stretch of what was once the Berlin Wall. Today it is known as Berlin’s East Side Gallery where 3-D street art adorns the facades of business and buildings. Visiting this neighborhood is the best way to explore Berlin’s art

Artificial Intelligence Takes on the Art Industry

Artificial intelligence is making inroads into just about every industry. Finance, medicine, and marketing are all being changed by discoveries made with artificial intelligence. One world that most people didn’t expect to be overtaken by AI is the art industry. However, like any other, it is being heavily influenced by the automation and technological advances of AI. Pieces created with neural networks are taking the art world by storm.

 

Just over a year ago, the portrait “Edmond de Belamy, from La Famille de Belamy” sold for over $400,000 at Christie’s in New York. It had been expected to sell for about $7,000 to $10,000. This painting, made with convolutional neural networks, is just one example of how the art world is reacting to artificial intelligence. This new technology is making a bigger splash than many people had expected.

 

Computers use convolutional neural networks to arrange and analyze images. This technology isn’t just used in the art world. It has applications in a number of industries. It’s the same type of artificial intelligence that is changing the way the medical profession interprets images from X-rays and MRI images. CNN uses style transfer. This process changes the tone of an image without changing the content. This is similar to the idea of a filter on an Instagram photo.

 

While some purists are alarmed that AI-created images are sharing space with the work of classical and popular artists, it is important to remember that computer-generated art dates to at least the 1950s. Some artists in the postwar period saw this art as an important antidote to emotional manipulations. For people who had lived through the rise of fascism and Hitler’s propaganda films, an art made without feeling seemed like a relief. It was hard to imagine how such works could be manipulated by politicians, and that seemed comforting.

 

Frieder Nake and Max Bense are some of the important names in that early period of computer-generated art. Although many people today feel that AI-generated art is just a grotesque display of technology, it’s important to remember that many respected art forms started off that way. Today, films are preserved by governments for posterity due to their cultural value. When that industry emerged, it was made up entirely of outsiders. It was considered vulgar. It will be interesting to see how history views AI-generated art.

Why Study Art?

Student who intend to study art often get flack from well-meaning loved ones who believe that the student won’t be able to make a living if he/ she studies art. However, the ability to make a living as an artist has changed drastically, in part, due to advances in technology. Further, the study of art develops skills aside from the obvious, art-related ones. Here’s a look why the arts can actually lead to better careers.

 

Technology Has Opened Up New Jobs

The advancements in technology have created a new demand for artists trained in digital technologies. After all, it was well-trained artists who created the fantastical dragons on shows like “Game of Thrones” or the magic of “Harry Potter.” Studying art, including the new technologies that make that art possible, opens up new job opportunities that have never existed before.

In order to work in these industries, these digital-savvy artists usually study both traditional art techniques, like drawing and old painting. They also learn the principles of design and art marketing. Finally, they become well-versed in digital tools, like Adobe Photoshop, Maya, Lightwave and Adobe After Effects.

 

Develop Cultural Awareness

A design career offers a simple example of how culture and art studies converge. Many challenges in the workplace arise from a lack of cultural awareness. Studying art, art history and languages develops the cultural awareness necessary to work in the art and design fields.

 

Transferable Skills

The study of art doesn’t just develop the ability to draw or sculpt beautiful things. It develops other skills, like creative thinking, the ability to work independently and eye-hand coordination. Aside from this, university studies done by James Catterall, a professor and researcher at the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies demonstrate that students who have been exposed to the arts and who have been involved in the arts do better in school.

 

 

These days, studying the arts helps students develop many practical skills that bring value to the workplace. Additionally, art studies teach students about the cultures and eras from which a piece of art arose. Finally, technology has changed pretty much every aspect of the workplace, including animation, media, and other arts-related jobs. Having a foundation in the arts opens up job possibilities that heretofore didn’t exist.