A few months ago I was commissioned to create a piece that would imbue the idea of hope. My mind twirled 360 degrees around the moon and beyond the stars over this idea, because to me hope was such a complex emotion.
As an adult, when I envisioned the idea of hope, my mind went to the business side of things. It created stories around charts and graphs, where I would see the protagonist arrow travel through the treacherous canyons and hills of a crisis to reach the upper right corner land of ‘hopeful’ profit and productivity of the present. I felt shallow because I knew hope stretched beyond the realms of the boardroom.
I tried again and again, and began to get frustrated over the complexity of this emotion. Everything I came up with was situational. I went into avenues of certain parts of my life when I needed hope the most.. and what came to the drawing board was pieces revolving around the business and chaos of life.. ..
And then it hit me.
Hope wasn’t complex.
Hope was quite simple.
It was the situations that proved to be complex and out of shape. It was kind of like my understanding of a higher power. I put so many situational events and interpretations of how I was supposed to believe in something greater than myself. .. that the very idea of a higher being became too overwhelming to understand because I believed it to be too complex for me to process. But that was just it. ..
It wasn’t complex..
It was quite simple.
The belief of a higher power existed, and in that understanding, the idea of it became straightforward. It was the people that made it complex. Thats kind of how hope worked for me. Having hope wasn’t neccessarily a complicated emotion.. it was the situations where I needed hope that were beyond my control and therefore made it convoluted.
I focused back on this idea when looking at the piece and closed my eyes. I took this into a color context, as I rely on the psychology of color to communicate to a color seeing world. My client wanted hope over their ailments of life so I used the following colors of blue, yellow, and green.
In looking at all these colors together and what they objectively spoke about, I realized a their relation to hope and how they connected me to my past and my beginnings of how I began to first have this feeling.
Growing up in Marietta, Georgia I often felt afraid, confused, and misunderstood. As I’ve mentioned in many blogs before, I spent most of my youth sitting on my bay window at night and looking at the lights of the distant city of Atlanta grow from the top of the hill at night. I dreamed that in those lights were places that would tell me not to be afraid. I spent many nights staring for hours and romanticizing about getting out of my town and moving to a place where people understood me.
It was in this, that I had hope.
When things got incredibly bad as a child I would run out into the yard to beg whatever magical force to take me away from where I lived. I’d lay out in the lawn for hours and stare at the sun and clouds and talk to the sky to strike up a bargain for my ticket out of where I lived. I would imagine, that someone eventually would hear me, and the grass and all its army of millions of legs, … would begin to move my body down the lawn, out of my town, and past my county line.
And while the grass never moved me, I did plant the seeds to manifest my reality. .. I eventually, when the opportunity became available, left Marietta, GA*.. and I traveled all over the United States and found understanding, conquered fear, settled confusion, and found the love I so desperately sought.
In this piece, called “Infinite Summer”, I chose to use these three colors as a nostalgic amulet for hope. The blue represents the sky I used to stare at. The yellow shards represent the sun that I used to converse with. The green waves represent the grass that I prayed would transport me away from my situation. Furthermore, I found specific meanings of the color to the client (as seen below)
1. Light Ultramarine Blue [PB29 + (PW6 x 2)] is the color of protection. In Greek Mythology, it was believed that the Gods on Mt. Olympus created the sky blue to let mortals know that they were protected. It was a color to ward off evil. In our path in life where hope is over our ailments, we often need protection to keep on keepin’ on.
2. Brilliant Yellow [PY86] / Diarylide Yellow [HR-70]. This represented the vibrancy of light, and was believed in pagan times to be a direct link to the power of life.
3. Spring Green [(PG7 + (PY86 x2)] Condensed Spring Green [PG7 + PY86]. This was an objective relation to color to grass and leaves that multiple religions used to emphasize the feeling of healing and renewal.
While I have never spoken to the client as this was a piece commissioned from one of the galleries that carries my work, I hope they find hope in this creation… as I did creating it. Hope is not complex. Hope is what carries us from point A to B to N to Z and beyond. Hope is what keeps living.
Hope is having life.
This is the 9th in the “Human Condition” series, and serves as the 71st in the TENxTENxTEN collection.
*Disclaimer: Marietta, GA is a wonderful place to many people. I must emphasize that just because I did not fare well there does not mean its a terrible place.