nudes, paintings, pink

So, what’s with all the pink?

Some of the more observant among you will have noticed that I’ve re-designed my blog, and it’s predominately pink in hue. Now if the phrase “but you’re a dude… why have pink?” springs to mind… then shame on you. Pink is an excellent colour (or to be correct… tone) and needs to be freed from the chains of prejudice and bigotry. I personally like this colour, and am currently working with it to create a series of body abstract paintings (the first of which: ‘Pink is the colour of intamacy’ is above).

These paintings (2 more in the pipeline) not only try to capture the innocence and gentleness of the colour, they also incorporate some of the colour’s more popular connotations: love and sexual preference. Yes, pink is the colour of love… although hearts are red, and is also the colour used to identify all things gay. The latter reference probably dates back to Hitler and his camps where homosexual men were badged with pink triangles (along with yellow stars for Jews, and Roma gypsies with black triangles) rather than the gender stereotyping we know today.

Speaking of stereotyping… colour has for a long time been used to symbolise things. From the yellow of fear, to the red of rage, colours create an immediate unconscious response in people. For example, very little food we eat is coloured blue (Smarties just prove the rule), as edible vegitation tends not to come in that colour. And art has used colour as a code to help the viewer understand hidden meaning. I am refering to the trend for Renaissance (and pre-Renaissance) artists to ‘colour code’ religious figures.

You may not be consciously aware of it, but we all associate colour with the figures from the Bible. If I were to ask you to describe Mary, although there is no description of her in the texts, I am sure that everyone will know that she wears sky blue (and white) robes. Am I right? What of Jesus? I bet red is in there somewhere. What you may be less aware of is that each apostle is awarded his own colour, which in turn has a connotational meaning to further describe his character. I won’t go into any more detail (as that’s what Google is for) except to say that Judas wearing yellow is no coincidence.

But surely everyone knows that pink is the colour of girls, and that blue is for boys?

Again, not true… I’m a boy (albeit now old and wrinkly) and I have no problem wearing pink. In fact, the notion that ‘pink is for girls’ is a relatively modern notion that was artifically introduced in the 1940s. Uptil then, the colour for girls was blue… just as the Virgin Mary, and for boys it was a toned-down red: ie pink, clearly seen as a masculine colour.

So pink had always been the male colour, and blue for girls. So what happened? Well, in the neverending noble quest to get women on an equal footing with men, the ‘girly’ colour blue was abandoned for the more masculine colour pink. And then some decades later (in the late ’60s, early ’70s I think) there was another push, this time to market goods specifically to girls, and pink was decided to become the branding colour for girls… and since then we boys have been denied it’s elegant beauty.

I’m here to redress that imbalance. Long live pink (and now I’m off to watch ‘Doctor Who’)

———- A quick addition

Another titbit of pink info… did you know that during WWII the British Spitfires were painted pink as this made them invisible to the eye while they surveilled France? Wish I had a photo. Also, I’ve just found a neat graphic charting the history of the colour pink. Check it out at http://bit.ly/bJ6pmE

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