Color

02.14.2011

Sometimes it’s really hard to narrow down what you’re interested in. In high school, I had always thought that I wasn’t particularly sure what I wanted to do or study in college until my junior or senior year. And even then, I wouldn’t have said that I was positive. But it turns out I’ve been interested in the same thing for a long time now: color.

In the eighth grade, we had a science fair, and we had to choose our own topics to study and do experiments for. I chose to study color, and how it appears different under certain lights, or on different colored backgrounds. I thought it was really interesting how color is pretty much arbitrary, and that how it’s perceived depends on its surroundings. I remember putting smaller squares of a certain color construction paper on larger squares, and studying how different backgrounds affected how the smaller squares appeared. Sometimes the same color appeared vastly different- for example; a red square on a black background appeared much brighter and lighter than a red square on a white background, etc.

I had forgotten about this science fair until just the other day in my color and design class. We got assigned a new project with four parts, the first two being: 1) Make the same color look different by manipulating background color, and 2) Make different colors look the same by manipulating background color. In order to do this, we’d have to paint a 1x1” square inside a 4x4” square, and study the effects the backgrounds had on the components in the middle. This was exactly what I did for my 8th grade science fair. And it just so happens that I think it’s the coolest project ever.

This project got me to realize that I actually have been interested in color phenomena for a good part of my life, but never really pinpointed it. For example, in chemistry class, my favorite section was the electromagnetic spectrum, because it dealt with light and color. I think it’s amazing that I am now able to mix and manipulate color myself. One part of the project is to create retinal vibration- basically, I have to paint something using four colors that makes the eye jump around really fast, giving the illusion that the painting is moving or blinking. It’s a cool feeling to think that I can make others look at things differently, and that I can physically manipulate how people see, in the most basic sense.

All in all, I think color is awesome. And I’m so excited to keep working on this project.