I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Martin Luther King, Jr.
How important is colour? It’s certainly important in naming rock groups and song, but it’s most important when it comes to understanding. People who afraid of people because of their colour is the most basic stupidity there is. Do you not like an orange because it’s orange?
But colour is a vital ingedient when it comes to music and art. Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Simply Red, Cream, Green Day, Golden Earring, White Snake… starting to get a picture?
Of course, there’s always Blue Oyster Cult, Indigo Girls, White Stripes, King Crimson, Silverchair, Red Hot Chilli Peppers… I could go on forever.
Why is it so many memorable bands have a colour in their name? It’s because colour adds a life and a dynamic to everything.
If you want to stand out, add a splash of colour
If you want something bland and unexciting, try the opposite. I think it was Einstein who said, “I’ll wear a white shirt today. Yes, white. A colour that shows no emotion.”
By itself, white has little to say, emotionally. But look at the way some political people use colour to show how they feel about something. Think about politicians and their love of re or blue ties. Supposedly this signifies that they are men of a certain type, or some other stupid thing.
Colour, colours me
Colour has always filled my world, and it’s more so today. Working in arts shops and at printers. When I began to compose music, I used paintings as my inspiration, colourful painting. Now, I run a poetry group that transcribes artworks into poetry.
Colour and colourful images have moved and shaped me. I even have a colour matching certificate. Something I gained from a one year course after I finished my Spray Painting trade certificate many years ago. It’s amazing how much you can learn about colour from being a spray painter.
Kandinsky said, “Colour is a power which directly influences the soul.” This is very obvious when you look at the history of the world, and individual movements. The red Communist, The Greens Party and the Yellow Shirts in Thailand. People are inspired and led by colour.
Then there’s the association of nations and colour. The colour of Cherry Blossom and Japan, the green connections to Ireland, the red, white and blue of the USA. And every nation trying to define themselves through the colours of their flags.
Colour, colours people
What about the colour of us. Our hair, eyes, clothes, makeup, the colour of our skin, and our blood; one of the few things we all have in common. One of the most moving images I have ever seen was a painting selected for the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize a few years back. An artist painted a portrait of himself in his own blood.
Colour gets in under our skin. It changes the way we see and feel. Colour can corrupt or heal. Colour is one of the greatest memory triggers there is. And there are some colours, I will never forget. The colour of a toy water pistol when I was five. It was green. The colour of our first family car, it was green too. And gold; it’s my favourite colour.
With everything I’ve said about colour, and how it has shaped me, one of my favourite songs is called Colorblind, by Counting Crows. Because with everything that happens in the world, sometimes I wish I was colour blind.