“Color is life; for a world without colors appears to us as dead.” — Johannes Itten

“Color is life; for a world without colors appears to us as dead.” — Johannes Itten The role of color, color schemes and patterns in reference to color is a fundamental element of all visual art, especially contemporary art. Contemporary art color palettes tend lean on the adventurous side and have more freedom of scope compared to other art eras of the past. Color play and its affect on the human psyche has been studied by both psychologist and artist throughout the ages. What most have found will not be of surprise to most in our modern society; the color white has been found to symbolize perfection, purity and rebirth, while the color yellow has perceptions of hope and cheerfulness, but can also be perceived to contain an element of anxiety. The color orange is perceived as a color of strength, optimism and youth. Orange shares the strength and boldness of red and the cheerfulness and optimism of yellow. Red is perceived as one of the boldest colors; power, passion and love are commonly discussed in reference to the color red. The color green has attributes of spring or fertility, safety, and often arouses a calming effect. The ultimate color of serenity and stability is blue. The color blue is also associated with truthfulness and intelligence. The color purple mixes the stability of blue and the power of red. Usually the color purple is thought to bring forth feelings of loyalty, luxury and extravagance. The color black is commonly associated with mystery, strength, and power. The color black can also be associated with death.  The combing of colors is where it gets interesting. Abstract contemporary artists can use different color schemes and palettes to tell stories and aid in the ultimate perception of specific works. American contemporary artist Shepard Fairey tends to use bold colors in the red spectrum coupled with contrasting elements of blues in most work. This is not surprising since the stark nature of his work uses many of the same principles and design elements as basic advertising.  One thing is certain: The use of color is a tool for any relevant contemporary artist living and producing art today.

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