synesthesia

Color is arguably the most potent force used in art. There are the mechanical aspects of art to give it form, and the literal aspects, the concepts that give it purpose, but what bowls people over is usually color. It reaches into the eyes and trickles down to the heart, it floods the brain with sensorial data.

Color is some sort of code in nature, perhaps parsed subconsciously, by a faculty we, for some reason, feel qualified to describe as instinct. Artists have the job of mustering up enough hubris to boldly execute this code, attempting communication with it. I think when we are exacting with what we want to communicate and try to turn that into a clear output, it works with the least efficacy. Better to let it speak up from the gut. Of course I don’t mean the rendering of known representational values, like that of a sky with blue pigment, although there, it may be diverting to mention that the blue you see and the blue I see cannot ever be confirmed to be the same thing.

In my graphic novel, Hobo City, the color departs from realism, activating a few different symbolic tropes, all arrived at by a synesthetic process. I use tints to evoke moods and I am cognizant of the moods that I associate with the type of light at different times of the day. In panels that have an element of surprise or action, jarring background colors blaze to the fore. There is some attempt to use specific shades of complimentary colors that vibrate in optical discord. There is a saturation in the photobashing that is reminiscent of cinematic color. Characters have monochromatic schemes that have been decided by a factor of ‘what else could they be than this?’ And upon the growth of the character and further rumination the associations of the color with their personality and purpose then become painfully obvious, almost typical, embodying major elementary statutes such as sustenance, innovation, hope, greed, confusion, domination.

Imagine a computer desktop icon of a comic book, its epitomized sign, we would recognize it as an open pamphlet, its pages gridded with colored squares of bright pastel. In a landfill there are splashes of every color everywhere and throughout, from all the discarded colorful wrappers of our society’s products. I use that. Cross referencing the history of impossible light sources in comics and the bric a brac of this world of detritus I am creating, the garbage becomes ripened and floral. Apropos of a dystopic posthuman aftermath, I am making each page a stinky bouquet from the garden of earthly delights.


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