Sunday, November 28, 2010

Color transforms Design

Buff Monster, a mysterious L.A. artists who goes so far as to make public appearances in a disguise, is known for displaying his work in an urban setting on objects such as cans, posters and building walls. Recently, he has graduated from the streets and is now exploring large-scale inflatables, indoor wall spaces, toys, organized art shows and some corporate promotions.

Buff monster's work mainly consists of child like caricatures ranging from bowling balls, dripping ice cream cones and flowers to unicorns and whales. His lines are, for the most part, curvilinear and the faces angelic. However, it is not his bubbly cartoons that create his signature style but his color choice or lack there of. Buff monster's signature palate consists of pink, black, white and a limited gray scale. Buff Monster states “Pink is power” and it the pink that certainly empowers his work. He originally began with only one tone of pink, which he thought to be the ‘perfect pink’ but his work has evolved to incorporate four to five shades of pink and has slowly incorporated more values of the gray scale. Due to his limited Platte Buff Monster must strategically place his colors to make sure no tones are too similar so that his simple shapes get lost amongst one another. Each form is extremely important and thus must stand out amongst it’s surroundings. I find it intriguing that despite the relentless constraints of a single hue, minimal values and simple childlike figures made of basic geometric shapes Buff Monsters work has an opposing effect on the viewer. The work appears saturated, complex and the variation between the works is astounding. He abides by the constraints he sets for himself and creates a body of work that is divers and explores the crevasses of color and form that would otherwise be overlooked if allowed too much freedom.

As Josef Albers demonstrates in Interaction of Color when certain colors are juxtaposed they take on different characteristics. For example, when the same tone of pink is next to a white object it seems to ‘pop’ and be more lively and saturated while the same tone of pink in relationship with a black surrounding appears more subdue. Just as colors on the color wheel create an emotional movement within viewers, such as melancholic for blues, greens and purple in the right corner of the equilateral color triangle, pink is typically associated with girlie, cute and happy. Buff Monster juxtaposes this pink color connotation with somewhat grotesque mosnters and oozing mounds of sludge.The color choice evokes questions such as “Why pink?”, “What is he trying to say?”, “Why did he chose to say it in this way?” “What feelings does it evoke; disgust or admiration?”, “Can this be considered fine art?”, “Can it be considered design?”

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