Category Archives: colors

The World’s First Tetrachromat Artist

The unique nature of an artist can be considered art itself. What sets great artists apart may not be their talents but their circumstances. While we know much of our destinies are determined by the decisions we make, remnants of happenstance hover over many of the artists we know and love.

No one understands this better than Concetta Antico, who, in 2012, received news that would change her life and send her already successful art career into high gear.

The Making of an Artist

To Concetta, art and life have always been one in the same. Her love of art began at the age of seven, when she found herself fascinated by color. This was around the time she started painting. Even at a young age her peers recognized the Australian native’s creative talent.
America's Finest City Lights, San Diego 10x10Now in San Diego, the place she considers home, Concetta’s days begin at the sight of color. The moment she opens her eyes she feels inspired by the color variations outside her windows and inside her home. Even the different fibers found in her wood floors can captivate this color connoisseur. These everyday sightings are what encourage Concetta to paint extraordinary works of art.

As an oil painter, Concetta paints each piece of art in one sitting and may accomplish 12 or more paintings per month. (With an exhibit on the horizon she has been known to paint up to 30 pieces in that time.) As it may seem, there is no time for creative blocks in Concetta’s world, although, she rarely feels confined by the age-old artist’s plague. Each day Concetta’s appreciation for art is renewed as she takes in the millions of shades, tones and hues that color her world.

Beyond her own art, Concetta also owns and operates an oil painting school called The Salon of Art (http://www.thesalonofart.com/). In her 25 years of teaching, she has instructed over 15,000 people on how to paint.

At a glance, it seems Concetta Antico has lived multiple lives, all dedicated to the pursuit of art. But these are merely chapters of a single story; the story of an artist. And the current chapter, the one where she and her art become known throughout the world, is only just beginning.

Behind the Artist’s Eyes

Concetta describes some of her recent fame as a result of being at the right place at the right time. And to some degree, this is true. In fact, had Concetta’s life not unfolded the way it has, the world may still not fully understand tetrachromacy, a condition where a person possesses four types of cone cells (independent channels for conveying colors) in the eye. It is typical to possess three cone cells but not four. Ultimately, a person with tetrachromacy, or a tetrachromat, may see 99 million more colors than the average person.

Rainbow Gully, Mission Hills, SD 12×16 Hi resConcetta Antico is the world’s first tetrachromat artist, a combination that some researchers have dubbed “The Perfect Storm.” One reason why few people know about tetrachromacy is because not many people know they are seeing more colors than other people. Concetta, on the other hand, has been immersed in color her entire life. Therefore, she is a highly functioning tetrachromat who fully embraced her condition before she knew it was there. This is why Concetta is able to help researchers better understand 2-3 percent of the world’s population that have four color cones. Tetrachromacy involves a unique connection between one’s eyes and brain. Sometimes, people who are unaware they are tetrachromat’s have not allowed their brains to recognize the large amount of colors their eyes take in. Because Concetta has been using color her entire life, her brain is quick to recognize assortments of color that others (even fellow tectrachromats) cannot process.

However, if it weren’t for being at the right place at the right time Concetta may not have learned she has tetrachromacy. Nor would the world have the first artist who can shed light on what it is like to see life through rich color.

Recognizing Tetrachromacy

Two separate occasions led Concetta to the team of researchers who would genotype her as a tetrachromat. The first was a trip to an optometrist with her daughter, and the second came in the form of an email from one of her students.

Peacock Tango! 40x60 Hi ResIn 2009, Concetta’s then 8-year-old daughter came home from school with an uncommon concern. She couldn’t see the board when her teacher wrote on it in orange. It seemed like a case of colorblindness, which is odd because it is very rare for girls to be colorblind. However, a trip to the eye doctor proved that Concetta, a lifelong lover of color, had a daughter with colorblindness.

Concetta didn’t think too much of the rarity in her line of DNA until a student of hers, Wendy Martin, sent her an email about a genetic factor that may influence how some individuals see color. Wendy was a research scientist herself and had noted an “alchemy” in Concetta’s work. When Wendy told the artist/teacher that she couldn’t put her finger on what made the art unique, Concetta joked that it must be her fourth receptor. Shortly after this conversation, Wendy sent Concetta an email with an article that connected the dots of her unique talent. The article stated that a person with four receptors could, in fact, have a colorblind daughter.

On this day in November, 2012, Concetta emailed the authors of the article, thus taking the first step in recognizing what the world knows her for today. Concetta Antico is a tetrachromat.

Same Art, New Fame

What has changed since receiving this news? Concetta still wakes up inspired by colors outside her windows and inside her home; she still owns and teaches at The Salon of Art; she completes each painting in one sitting. But on top of these decades-long practices, Concetta now has a press career. With the eloquence of a tenure educator, the accent of an Australian empress, and the poise of an internationally renowned artist, Concetta grants interviews about her artwork and how tetrachromacy influences her craft.

There is no doubt that Concetta’s talent and work ethic are worthy of fame, but much of this new wave of success has come from her accepting and embracing a DNA condition that is propelling her career to new heights.

Idyll Hours ~ Daisy Days 24×36 Hi ResSo in an exclusive interview with Concetta Antico, the world’s first tetrachromat artist, Segmation has one burning question: What is your favorite color?

Her response might come as a surprise. “White,” she says.

An artist who is known to live in a world of color is most drawn to the color white. Some might argue that white is not a color, but those people are not tetrachromats. “Everything speaks to me,” explains Concetta. “It’s hard to detach from color. It is a huge component of everything I do.” She also expresses that colors like red and yellow are too strong. To her, white is peaceful. And let us not forget, to a tetrachromat, even white is a mosaic of color.

Images made available by Concetta Antico.

Paper Quilling – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

1b Paper QuillingPaper Quilling: is it a craft project? Is it an art form? Is it enjoyed by adults or children?

Yes to all the above.

According to Aunt Annie’s Crafts, “Quilling is the art of rolling narrow strips of paper into coils or scrolls, and arranging them to form elegant filigree.”

People who are young and young-at-heart both enjoy paper quilling as a craft. They roll, pinch and place computer paper, craft paper, construction paper and even junk mail to create 3D masterpieces. However, paper quilling is nothing new. Look back in time to better understand the evolution of this art practice.

Paper Quilling in the Colonial Era and Beyond

Is it any surprise that paper quilling, a favorite craft for artsy people of all ages, has been around for hundreds of years? Even though it gets its name from the Colonial era, when feather quills were used to create these works of art, filigree art has been around since the 14th century.

Before paper filigree filled the free time of craft enthusiasts, metal filigree was all the rage. Most popularly known as a jewelry metalwork, this form of filigree twisted golds and silvers together to create beads and threads that were used in jewelry items and small standing art pieces.

Today, paper filigree is growing in popularity again. However, thanks to the creativity of quillers throughout the world, paper quilling goes far beyond creating 3D art. People have created bowls, baskets, vases and teacups by rolling and coiling colorful papers.

Paper Quilling as Modern Art

Crafters aren’t the only people embracing paper quilling. In an article posted to mymodernmet.com, it is reported that “Seoul-based artist Ilhwa Kim hand-dyes, cuts, and rolls thousands of individual sheets of Korean mulberry paper to form vibrant, three-dimensional works of art bursting with striking patterns and imagery.”

1c Paper QuillingKim doesn’t refer to her art as paper quilling, although it seems to derive from the same family. Nevertheless, she seems to modernize the centuries-old practice. She “…carefully [arranges the rigid layers of paper] according to color so that, when seen from afar, the viewer spots subtle impressions of eyes, hearts, human figures, and more in Kim’s densely packed images.”

Paper filigree has come a long way and continues to evolve. Where will the art and craft go next?

Have you tried paper quilling? What was your experience with the craft? It seems like there are several ways you can make quilling unique; what is your technique?

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

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Paint by Number – The Original DIY Project

Graphic Designer Creates a Different TYPE of Art

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Properly Defining Color: Webster’s Dictionary and the Science of Color

Color is one of the hardest things to properly define. Most people do it by using comparatives such as “sunset orange,” “sky blue,” and “jade green”. But Webster’s Dictionary, wanting to be as direct and precise as possible, actually hired a color scientist to assist with color definitions for its Second Edition.

Isaac H. Godlove, who was chief color consultant for Webster’s from 1921 until 1935, had excellent credentials for the job. He was the chairman of the Committee of Measurement and Specification of the Inter-Society Color Council, a member of the Colorimetry Committee of the Optical Society, and director of the Munsell Research Laboratory, which created the Munsell Color Company, formed specifically to standardize colors.

Dr. Godlove created a system of defining colors by hue, saturation, and brilliance. Hue was the color itself, such as red or yellow; saturation described how the color looked under certain lighting conditions; brilliance (also known as brightness) was measured by how close it was to white. He defined ‘cherry’ as “a bright-red color; a color, yellowish-red in hue, of very high saturation and medium brilliance.” The entry for color is three columns long and includes graphs and two color plates.

Pleased with and even awed by his work, Webster’s editors called Godlove in to work on color definitions for the Third Edition. In the intervening years between the two editions, color names had become increasingly standardized. Popular use of these names had even been analyzed in mass-marketing campaigns, and their findings were to be incorporated into the new edition.

The Third Edition contained comprehensive color plates as well as an entire page dedicated to explaining the color charts and the descriptive names of each hue. There was even a five-page dye chart! Other additions and changes included:

  • Color definitions were now relational: each one was now something “more or less of” another. There were no more formulaic descriptions of a color’s hue, saturation, and brilliance.
  • Color names were defined by so-called ‘color specialists’ from retail giants Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward. This resulted in consumer-style definitions such as ‘Cerise’: a moderate red that is slightly darker than claret (sense 3a), slightly lighter than Harvard crimson (sense 1), very slightly bluer and duller than average strawberry (sense 2a), and bluer and very slightly lighter than Turkey red.

In retrospect, the Third Edition took the ‘color as science’ concept too far. These definitions are too full-blown and subjective to make sense to the average person, except for ‘light blue’, ‘pale green’, or, in the cerise example ‘moderate red’. Accordingly, they were demystified and translated into simpler language in future editions: today, Webster’s defines the color blue as ‘the color of the sky’.

When Webster’s original 1847 edition was being revised during the 1850s, colors were more simply defined. Red was blood. Green was fresh grass. Those are descriptions we can easily relate to today, over 150 years later.

Science is an amazing and liberating field, but when it comes to describing the raw beauty of color, it seems simplicity is all we need.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

Color Advances Science

Art Illuminates Science

The Psychology of Color

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Fun Facts About Familiar Colors

Color. It defines our reality, evokes emotion, can affect our choices, and makes a difference in the way we look. All of us are familiar with the primary colors, but this post reveals some little-known facts that may surprise you.

Red:

Red is usually associated with power and passion. It is vibrant, daring, and attracts attention. For instance, think about the responses drawn by red cars and crimson lipstick.

Fun facts about red:

  • Although it’s widely believed that red capes make bulls angry, the reality is that bulls are colorblind. In this instance, the red lining is meant to conceal any bloodstains.
  • Seeing a red object can make your heart beat faster.
  • In China, brides wear red wedding dresses for good luck.
  • There are approximately 23 different shades of red crayons.

Orange:

The artist Wassily Kandinsky once said, “Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow.” It’s one of those colors people love or hate. Vibrant and engaging, it is the only color of the spectrum that gets its name from an object- in this case the orange fruit.

Fun facts about orange:

  • In France, the middle traffic light is orange.
  • In Hindu tradition, orange is an auspicious and sacred color.
  • Orange is both the name and emblematic color of the British royal family.
  • The ‘black boxes’ on aircraft are really bright orange so they can be located more easily.

Yellow:

German writer and statesman Johann von Goethe said in 1840, “With yellow the eye rejoices, the heart expands, the spirit is cheered and we immediately feel warmed.’ The same holds true today: yellow is associated with optimism and enlightenment.

Fun facts about yellow:

  • Although yellow is considered a peaceful color, people lose their tempers more frequently in yellow rooms.
  • Legal pads are yellow because it improves concentration ability.
  • 75% of the pencils sold in the U.S. are yellow.
  • A yellow flag indicates a medical quarantine.

Green:

Green is not just a color anymore; it is a symbol of environmentally friendly products, buildings, and lifestyles. Green has represented growth, regeneration, and fertility since the beginning of time.

Fun facts about green:

  • People waiting to appear on TV wait in ‘green rooms’ because the color can soothe a bad case of the nerves.
  • Hospital decor is usually green because it calms patients.
  • Seamstresses won’t use green thread before a fashion show, fearing it can cause bad luck.
  • Brides in the Middle Ages wore green to represent fertility.

Blue:

Blue is one of the most popular colors. It causes the human body to produce calming chemicals, which is why it’s often used in bedrooms. Blue is also gender-neutral, appealing to both men and women equally.

Fun facts about blue:

  • Fashion consultants recommend wearing blue to job interviews because it represents loyalty.
  • Weightlifters can lift heavier weights in blue-walled gyms.
  • Workers are more productive in blue rooms.
  • Blue plates make food appear less appealing: a note to dieters!

Indigo:

We have Isaac Newton to thank for adding indigo to the color spectrum. He wanted the number of colors to match the seven-tone musical scale of Rene Descartes, so indigo was chosen to bring the color spectrum count to seven.

Fun facts about blue:

  • Black light turns ripe bananas a bright indigo color.
  • During the Elizabethan era, only royalty, nobility, and members of the Council could legally wear indigo.
  • Indigo is often called ‘royal’ blue.
  • The Virgin Mary is frequently depicted wearing indigo clothing.

Purple:

Because it appears so rarely in nature and is expensive to create, purple has a powerful history that has evolved with the centuries. It is the most powerful wavelength of the rainbow and denotes wealth and sophistication.

Fun facts about purple:

  • The Romans used to extract an essence for making purple by boiling thousands of marine snails.
  • In some cultures, purple is the color of mourning.
  • Only two of the world’s flags contain purple.
  • In Italy, performers refuse to go on stage wearing purple.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

Colorful Jewelry Inspired by Classic Art

Red Artwork is Worth Fortunes

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The Gift of Color Vision

There is a rare condition that’s not fatal, but many artists would kill to have it. It is called tetrachomacy. Its main symptom is near-superhuman vision.

Impressionist painter Concetta Antico has tetrachomacy. When she examines a leaf, she sees a “mosaic of color,” not just shades of green.

“Around the edge I’ll see orange or red or purple in the shadow; you might see dark green but I’ll see violet, turquoise, blue,” she says. In her line of work, this ‘disorder’ is a rare gift that produces extraordinary works of art.

Tetrachromats have more receptors in their eyes to absorb color, letting them see hues that are invisible to everyone else. The average person has three cones, or photoreceptor cells in the retina that control color vision and allow people to see up to a million colors. Tetrachromats have four cones, so they can detect nuances and dimensions of color that others can’t.

Researchers believe that one percent of the world population is tetrachromatic. According to Kimberly Jameson, a cognitive scientist at the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences at the University of California in Irvine, the differences between the color range perceived by a tetrachromat and someone with normal vision is not as drastic as the difference between someone who is colorblind and someone who is not.

After studying Concetta Antico’s genes, Jameson determined that her fourth cone absorbs color wavelengths that are “reddish-orangey-yellow.” As a cognitive scientist, Jameson is fascinated with how people like tetrachromats can form and communicate concepts, especially since their visual perception of the world is so different.

Research suggests that tetrachromacy may be more widespread than assumed: those who have it don’t always notice because they haven’t trained their brains to pay attention. Antico admits that she was more color-aware than most children; at age seven she was painting and thoroughly fascinated with color. Because of the extensive exposure at an early age, her brain wired itself to notice and take advantage of her tetrachromacy.

She actively supports continued research into mutations that affect color perception. Her reasons are personal: five years ago, her seven-year old daughter was diagnosed as colorblind. Antico believes that the more she helps science professionals understand tetrachromacy, the better they will be able to help her daughter one day.

Kimberly Jameson agrees. “If we understand genetic potential for tetrachromacy and how their perception differs,” she says, “we can understand quite a lot about visual processing of color that we currently don’t understand.”

Antico may actually be helping colorblind individuals via her art. She has been teaching painting for over 20 years, and many of her students have been color-deficient. Jameson has looked at their artwork and found it to be surprisingly color-aware. She believes that Antico’s sensitivity to color differences at a very early age may have given her the understanding and articulation to help these students. It’s a hypothesis that still needs to be proved empirically, but raises the possibility that people’s perception of color can be improved by retraining their brains.

Antico has her own art gallery in San Diego and hopes to one day open an art school for the colorblind, to help them improve their color-awareness.

“What if we tetrachromats can show the way to color for people who are less fortunate than us?” she says. “I want everyone to realize how beautiful the world is.”

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

EnChroma Introduces Colorblind People to Color

The Importance of Color Vision and Art

Blind Artist’s Vision is Clearer than that of Sighted Individuals

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Color of the Year, 2015

Have you noticed that certain colors are trendy? Some are ‘in’ while others are ‘out’. Many reincarnate as ‘vintage’ or ‘retro.” This brings up one question: what will the ‘It’ color be for 2015?

According to the PPG Pittsburgh Paints® brand, it’s Blue Paisley—a decadent shade that is almost royal blue but retains an identity all its own. Experts at the company predict that Blue Paisley will feature prominently in home decor trends in 2015, when homeowners are expected to favor vibrant and expressive hues that inspire and represent their hopes and dreams.

Nowadays, homeowners are turning to multiple regions and influences for decor inspiration, seeking to change their home environments into a celebration of worldly possibilities. By choosing colors like Blue Paisley, which represent global diversity, they inject an exciting and worldly aura into their living spaces.

Blue Paisley is featured in one of four new color palettes developed by Pittsburgh Paints to showcase the anticipated 2015-16 color trends. The company’s national color marketing manager explained, “We are experiencing the popularity of the soft blue shade across all markets, such as home decor, automotive and electronics, making it a clear PPG Color of the Year selection.”

PPG’s creative team of color stylists from around the world worked together to conceive and develop the underlying idea and philosophy behind the four new palettes. Homeowners are encouraged to choose color combinations that are representative of their aspirations for the coming year. At their disposal are friendly and vibrant hues such as Jewel Weed, fiery and energetic colors like Firecracker, and cool, sophisticated tones such as Copper River.

The four new palettes are:

  1. Good Life: This fresh and earthy palette represents harmony. Organic sources, such as floral colors, earthy neutrals, and crisp sea blues inspired this palette’s variety of naturally bold hues.
  2. I’m Pulse: Bold, expressive, and artistic, “I’m Pulse” represents creativity. Color traces of classic, pop, abstract, and digital art are reflected in the intense yellows, hot blues, burnt pinks and sultry greens.
  3. Co-Leidescope: This trend, which represents possibilities, has a color scheme designed to be “ethnicity-inclusive, culture-inclusive and co-existence-inclusive”. Purple and green in deep jewel tones, spicy reds, and shining yellows reflect a global essence that will appeal to existing and aspiring jetsetters.
  4. Introsense: Like Co-Leidescope, this palette represents possibilities but takes a much softer approach with ‘zen neutrals’ such as gentle blues and indulgent pinks. Soft tints add a factor of serenity and sensitivity, resulting in minimalistic styling that blends clean designs with quiet nature.

PPG’s national color marketing manager added that the growth and strengthening of global connections has increased overall desire to adopt the unique features and colors of natural surroundings.

Portrait of smiling young woman“Whether it’s recognizing the contrasts of our manmade environment versus what nature provides as a way to identify the simple, earthen spirit through natural muted tones, or embracing the bold and expressive hues of a self-centric and artistic being, the desire to recognize the possibility of what’s ahead is appealing.”

Which of these four palettes do you prefer? Let us know by responding in the comment section below.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

The Colors of Fall: 5 Shades for a Stylish Season

Pantone’s World of Color

What Color Should You Paint Your Home?

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Can Changing Your Diet Alter Eye, Skin Color?

green and red healthy foodIt’s really happening: some people who follow raw diets are claiming that over time, their eye and skin color change.

Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram, who blogs for FullyRaw, claimed in a YouTube video that her diet turned her eyes from dark brown to hazel, and she swears that blue is not too far off. Skeptics are scoffing, but she’s not the only one to make this assertion. According to Conscious Nourishment, a popular raw food blog, Steve Factor, “The Pure Energy Chef,” has noticed a gradual color change, too.

Carrillo-Bucaram, known among raw foodists as ‘Fully Raw Kristina’, said in her blog that eating a raw vegan diet not only cured her of the hyperglycemia that plagued her since childhood, it also changed the pigment in her irises. She consulted an iridologist, who told her that a poor diet creates toxic buildup that is reflected in the eyes.

“The cleaner you become, the cleaner your eyes become. I ate fully raw and I allowed my body to cleanse itself naturally,” she said, believing this caused the change in eye color.

Although no studies provide solid evidence for such claims, many raw diet aficionados and alternative healers believe that brown eyes signal the presence of toxins in the body, while blue eyes represent good health. They assert that when a person becomes healthier, their irises gradually turn blue or even light gray due to the body’s regeneration of new cells.

The effect of diet on skin is less controversial. It’s a running joke that snacking on too many carrot sticks will turn your skin orange, but there’s a real basis for this lighthearted warning: hypercarotenemia, or carotenosis, is a light orange skin discoloration resulting from high levels of carotene in the blood. It’s caused by eating high amounts of vitamin A, which carrots have in abundance.

Isabel Marant, the French fashion designer, says that she drinks carrot juice to give her skin a healthy glow. She told Harper’s Bazaar, “It’s true. I’ve noticed that I tan easily without being in the sun when I drink a glass of carrot juice.”

PlumbTalk Women - Lessons in Nutrition - Facebook AlbumIn 2010, Dr. Ian Stephen, who has studied the way a person’s face can affect how others perceive them, researched the connection between skin tone and a healthy appearance. He and his assistants discovered that a diet rich in certain fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, cantaloupe, and tomatoes (which are high in carotene) result in a golden-hued complexion for certain study participants.

“Most people think the best way to improve skin tone is to get a suntan, but our research shows that eating lots of fruit and vegetables is actually more effective,” he said.

Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables can improve your skin tone and may change your eye color, but it will definitely give you more energy, improve your digestion, and reduce your risk of developing heart and cardiovascular disease. That alone is enough to adopt a healthier diet. Blue eyes and a natural ‘suntan,’ should you experience either, will be an added bonus.

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James Ostrer’s Junk Food Art

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Coloring Each Season with Healthy Food

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