Thursday, January 30, 2014

Show Color Palette: Migration

This is a small series you'll see pop up on the blog once in a while - about the color palettes I choose for my shows, or groupings of work.  I love color - I LOVE IT. Though I clothe myself in black and live in a home full of time-worn neutrals, I use a lot of color in my work. Color can communicate ideas and themes that words, textures, or other visual cues cannot, and it's just pure aesthetic pleasure to combine them and see what happens.

I worked for almost 9 years as a commercial artist and came up with color palettes on a daily basis. I know I always thought in terms of color groupings, but it wasn't until it was a part of my career that I realized I literally cannot begin a group of work comfortably unless I had decided on a solid palette to work from.

Migration (my show with Chris Ryniak, that showed at Stranger Factory in March of 2013) explored themes of moving, traveling, and self-sufficiency, with a rich, earth-pigment color selection to accompany it.

Some of the influences for my pieces were:

• Tibetan prayer flags, shredded by wind and faded from the sun
• Mongolian nomads - their dress, tents, and lifestyle of constant movement
• Explorers and early discoverers
• the colors and textures of rocky, unforgiving places - the desert, the mountains, cliffs, and caves
• Driftwood, river stones, spools of hemp rope, worn leather
• Aged, dented, metal - temple bells, buckles, nails, and ancient jewelry
• Huge sacks of spices and herbs at open air bazaars
• The smell of burning wood, incense, and sacred oils

We worked together to finalize the color palette, so that it would be cohesive for the show, but still allow both of us to utilize the colors in a way that worked best for both of our different styles. Both Chris and I are designers, and both agree on the importance of a strong color statement across every single piece in the shows we do. We reinforced the palette in our show signage, using painted cardboard letters in various colors, that hung on the wall above our biggest piece:

Migration opening night, March 2013. Picture courtesy of Sara Harvey's Flickr Photostream.
Because we were so diligent in keeping the colors a prominent design element, the show held together very well, even across the walls of a large gallery. Creating a sense of "theme" is a huge passion of mine, and I look forward to every new opportunity I get to do so.


  1. Awesome!! As usual, Amanda, you are always capable of making the most beautiful creatures out of nowhere. Keep it up!!

  2. Creating a colour scheme and mixing my colours is my favourite part of the process. The colours you choose are definitely one of the things that draws me to your artwork.

    1. Isn't it so fun? Sometimes I just make palettes and save them for a rainy day. Thank you, I really have a lot of fun putting it all together :)

  3. enlightened! this post is great
    please make some more 'creature'
    love it :)


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