Throughout history the color black has had its ups and downs.
Most recently it has meant incredible discounts on everything from soup to nuts, cars to clothes on the day after Thanksgiving. Before Madison Avenue and their accountants got a hold of black to keep our economy going, it was very useful in the art world.
The very first black marks were made on cave walls. Presumably, once the marshmallows were cleaned off, cave dwelling kids found they could continue to use their sticks for decorating their rooms.
Since those pre-historic days black pigment has been made from burnt sticks, roots, grapevines, bones, oily smoke residue, and more recently iron oxides or other synthetic materials.
Throughout the centuries the use of black in art or fashion has meant wealth or poverty; tradition or the very latest fashion; evil or piety; silence or harmony. Sometimes all of these things at once. And just last year, artist Anish Kapoor nabbed the exclusive artistic rights to the new Vantablack which absorbs nearly all light. So I guess we can add ‘grabby’ to the list of meanings as well.
Whether it is even a color at all rises to the level of debate. Physicists and colorists engage in lengthy conversations regarding the properties of black.
What’s a color to do?
Relax. Black Friday comes but once a year. The other 360-some days it can stay in the community of painters and sculptors. We know what to do with it.
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I've been sharing the odds and ends of my art life for the last 8 years.