Imagine walking into a room, by yourself, filled with what appears to be infinite, colorful pin pricks of light floating in a black abyss. Yayoi Kusama’s “Mirrored Room” at the David Zwirner gallery in New York makes this exercise come to life. 2,500 patrons a day waited hours for a quick 45 seconds in the room. Unfortunately the exhibit has ended, but it’s exciting to see that installations of this kind, including the James Turrell exhibit at LACMA in Los Angeles, have garnered such enormous responses. It is also very cool that Kusama, in her 80s, can tap into such a contemporary vein of the art world as is evidenced by the enormity of selfies taken in the room.
While tooling around Bangkok, I was struck by how much pink is used not only for advertising and packaging, but in many applications: Thai Airways luggage tags, billboards, mall window displays, even taxis! It’s a completely different color in Asia than in Northern America, where it’s reserved mainly for women’s products and toys. In Bangkok, you’ll see pink packaging used gender nuetrally for hair products for guys, as well as men’s fashion.
I’m living in southern China and Hong Kong for a few months, and am really inspired by the color palettes here. There’s a vibrancy that’s unique to the region. Color in Hong Kong is rich and sophisticated, with lush pairings of orange and green, or turquoise and lavender. In Chinese cities, packaging colors tend towards cheerful and lively, with eye-popping pinks, greens and blues. Plus, there’s some pretty interesting potato chip flavors – cheese lobster chips, anyone?
Lively. Radiant. Lush. That’s how Pantone (the world-renowned authority on color and the standard language for color communication) describes its pick for the 2013 Color of the Year. It’s called Emerald, and you can expect to see its influence on fashion, home goods, cars and more. I’ll miss last year’s zesty Tangerine Tango. What color would you have picked for 2013?
Shepard Fairey, the street artist who is both venerated and adored, has graced my neighborhood with an awesome mural. Fairey rose out of the skateboarding scene with his “Andre the Giant” Obey campaign (http://obeygiant.com/) and sky rocketed to mainstream fame with his phenomenal Obama “HOPE” poster.
Most recently, he was featured in “Exit Through the Gift Shop” (http://www.banksyfilm.com/), a satirical tale of one man’s rise to graffiti fame. I highly recommend the film as it showcases the talent of underground artists in an enthralling and creative way.
If you’re in South Park, be sure to drive by 29th and Ivy to check out Fairey’s mural!
As a designer, I’m constantly fretting over color – which can make all the difference in design. Color can make us joyous, hungry, tired. Color can be the difference between purchasing a house, a car, a sweater. It can even change our perception about the world around us. Over 20 years ago the Heidelberg Project (http://www.heidelberg.org/) took this very idea to a blighted urban area in Detroit and painted a fantastical wonderland of houses – bringing with the color a sense of community and hope to an area that needed both badly. The Heidelberg Project continues to serve impoverished communities with it’s motto of “Art-as-Life”.
In the same vein, Dulux’s international outreach project “Let’s Colour” (http://www.letscolourproject.com/) enlivens dreary neighborhoods with blasts of color. I just think these projects are so very cool and a testament to our need for color in life.
Hyperakt (http://www.hyperakt.com/) is an awesome New York based design firm – they’re cutting edge and very unique. I’m constantly inspired by their intuitive and clever design. Here’s a taste of what they do in the form of a pretty funny little video about PSD. Take a tour around their site for more inspiration.