Throughout history, art has been a tool for the deepest expression of human emotions, so it is no surprise that looking at art can change our mood or strengthen an emotion we are already feeling. Colour psychology is complex. All Colours are layered with symbolism, and meanings vary across different cultures, and also typically come with both positive and sometimes negative associations depending on the context. Artists choose the Colour of their pieces carefully, or sometimes intuitively, to communicate deeper meanings.
Red is associated with energy and vibrancy. It is the Colour of lust and passion. It is not surprising that it is the dominant Colour in Mark Ashkenazi’s sensuous pop-art piece, “Seductive Strawberry.” The rich shade of the strawberry, alongside the more vivid red of the lips and nails, draw the eyes into the centre of the artwork. It is said that too much red can strongly affect us – perhaps this is why the background is balanced with a calming green that keeps our eyes focused on the seductive strawberry.
Red is also the Colour of dominance, ambition, and action. An image that is not afraid to immerse itself in energy is Ilya Avakov’s “Chevrolet Camaro.” His use of red extends across the car and out into the background with splashes of blue and white, bringing to mind high speeds and thrilling competitiveness.
Blue is typically a Colour that is calming and reflective. It helps us hear our thoughts and give ourselves space to breathe and relax. Robert Farkas’s charming “London Pigeon” is both witty and whimsy whilst hinting at a well-travelled character contemplating his many adventures and experiences, which somehow invites us to do the same. Olga Pekarskaja’s “At Sea Shore” also invites a moment of reflection, but in a different way. Here we witness a fisherman waiting by a stormy sea. We might catch ourselves gazing at the same sea, drawn perhaps to the crest of the same waves.
Green is unsurprisingly the Colour of life and growth, but in contemporary times it has taken on the symbolism of money, materialism and urban life. It is this element which is drawn upon in “Sofia” by Nick Cocozza, named after the Bulgarian capital city – a vibrant place rich in history, culture and up-and-coming artistic talent. Marija Staneviciute’s marvellous “Floating” is quite different. Here the sea is transformed from a familiar blue to a startling, complex, leafy green. Not only does this artwork challenge our everyday expectations, it urges us to contemplate potential deeper meanings, perhaps about the unseen value of our oceans, or perhaps that life isn’t always what it seems.
Yellow is a complex Colour. On one hand it can symbolize logic, intelligence, knowledge, and communication. On the other, it can express fun, cheerfulness, happiness and joy – evocative of long summer days, sunshine and youthful confidence. The difference in these two moods can be highlighted with the artworks “Le Mans Mclaren” and “Hipsters Not Dead.” One focuses on the fun and excitement of Mclaren cars and the other invites ironic contemplation of what it means to be a hipster.
Grey is detached, unemotional, and neutral and still. Some might consider it to be mystical. There is certainly an aura of mysticism in Elaheh Zahedi’s “Secret Forest on My Hand.” This complex and beautiful piece evokes a mysteriousness that we cannot help but be compelled by.
The neutrality of grey is balanced by hints of Colour in the highlights of Pablo Franchi’s “Moto GP 99.” This piece is clean, dynamic, and the subject matter and brush strokes speak of energy and movement. Yet the use of the neutral palette means this image is still somehow, like a moment frozen in time. It allows us to feel still when observing it.
White inspires purity and innocence. What could be more innocent than the beautiful illustration “Friends,” by Danguole Serstinskaja? This piece is sure to put anyone in a relaxed mood. The purity of white is counter-balanced by red Estee Lauder lips in Sara Vera Lecaro’s illustration of superstar Kendall Jenner, hinting at the drama of her life.