Tag Archives: Black

Artist Empowers Humanity by Reinventing Classic Portraits

images-1Artist Kehinde Wiley is restoring power and respect to humanity through art. How? By reinventing classic portraits in a way that honors black individuals. Wiley believes art—particularly portraiture—is power. He told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, “What is portraiture? It’s choice. It’s the ability to position your body in the world for the world to celebrate you on your own terms.” With stunning vulnerability and bravery, Wiley reworks classic paintings so that they include black and brown-skinned people as the main subjects. For example, Wiley reinterpreted Jacques-Louis David’s portrait of Napoleon crossing the Alps by replacing Napoleon with a camouflage-clad black man. The made-over portrait places the black man in the same position of influence that Napoleon held. Now, that’s power.

The True Role of an Artist

What is an artist’s role in society? Should artists primarily make things look better, prettier? Kehinde Wiley doesn’t think so. He believes artists should think about “what they can do to start a broader conversation about presence and imminence and the desire to be seen as respected images-2and beautiful.” According to Wiley, an artist’s role in society should be one that facilitates the redemption of the beauty of humanity, regardless of race. That’s why he’s pouring his blood, sweat and tears into transforming masterpiece paintings into works of art that feature individuals of black and brown skin tones. Wiley says, “I understand blackness from the inside out. What my goal is, is to allow the world to see the humanity that I know personally to be the truth.”

Kehinde Wiley Makes Mugshots Beautiful

Mugshots are not typically thought of as beautiful; they are most commonly associated with shame and punishment. However, Kehinde Wiley sees them as something entirely different: a type of portraiture. imagesWiley turns mugshots into portraits that subtly broadcast a person’s vulnerabilities, fears and dreams. This is just another way he is displaying the humanness and intrinsic importance of people who are sometimes overlooked by society. Wiley refuses to overlook these individuals. He wants the world to see them for who they really are: humans who deserve to be respected and understood. Kehinde Wiley has a pretty good idea of why he is alive and what he was born to do. He says, “My job is to walk through the streets, find someone who’s minding their own business, trying to get to work, stopping them — the next thing you know, they’re hanging on a great museum throughout the world, and it allows us to slow down and to say yes to these people, yes to these experiences, yes to these stories.” Please note: the photos featured in this blog post are NOT the property of Segmation.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

Artists Bring the Streets To Life with 3D Art

The World’s First Tetrachromat Artist

An Artist’s Story of Taking Risks and Staying Determined

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The Blackest Shade of Black

A new shade of black has been discovered, but don’t expect it to show up in the next set of Crayola® crayons. This black is touted as the blackest black. Unlike other colors, this hue is engineered and must be grown from carbon nanotubes. These tubes, which are smaller than strands of human hair, are responsible for soaking up nearly 100 percent of the light that hits them.

Before revealing the man who is responsible for uncovering the shade that is blacker-than-black, let’s discuss the often overlooked relationship between light and color.

The Relationship Between Light and Color

It is shocking to learn that color, as we see it, is not color at all. Items that appear colorful are only perceived this way if white light is present. In order for the human eye to see color, objects must reflect light, absorbing certain waves and resisting others. Depending on what waves are absorbed and rejected, we get particular color. For instance, when light hits an orange, it absorbs all colors of the spectrum except for orange.

At early ages, children learn that black is not a color. This is because black does not need light, like other colors do. Whenever a “black” product is created, like a black crayon or paint, it is always the goal to have it reflect as little light as possible. But not all light can be absorbed.

Even Frederik de Wilde’s blackest black only absorbs 99 percent of light. But this is more than was ever expected or thought possible.

Fathering the World’s Blackest Shade of Black

Frederik de Wilde is an artist and scientist who is dedicated to discovering the darkest shade of black. Some call the hue, “NASA black,” because he partnered with NASA and a team from Rice University to nano-engineer this “color.”

Of his findings, De Wilde says, “Blacker-than-black is necessarily something which exceeds the luminous phenomenon.” Made up of 99.9 percent air and .01 percent carbon, blacker-than-black is what people see when they are essentially looking at nothing. Throughout the research process, as he and the team aimed for a nano-engineering phenomenon, de Wilde realized the process of creating the world’s blackest shade of black was going “beyond zero.” It was doing something that people once thought impossible.

Now that this shade has become a reality, there is much discussion about how it can and will be used.

The Future of Blacker-than-black

NASA is excited about the potential this shade of black offers to “creating hyper-efficient renewable energy.” A Huffington post article elaborates, saying NASA thinks this may lead to the development of invisible technology and may enable telescopes to pier deeper into space.

De Wilde also sees blacker-than-black as having “limitless potential” in the art world, too. He nano-engineers paintings and sculptures with material so black that it seems as if volume vanishes.

The creative, practical and sustainable functions of the world’s blackest shade of black are unique. Not only does it absorb more light than any other color, it is also a breakthrough in areas of art and science. This is a big accomplishment for something that is made of nothing.

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and science:

The Creative, Artistic and Inventive Mind of Leonardo da Vinci

Custom Art Made from Your DNA

Color the Universe… Beige?

Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

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