Edith Young’s new book –Color Scheme: An Irreverent History of Art and Pop Culture in Color Palettes – is a small wonder of incredible moments, equal parts art history and paradigm-shifting invention. In the book, Young shares the color palettes for David Hockney’s pools, Dennis Rodman’s hair (shown chronologically), Tonya Harding’s homemade skating costumes, and the blush of Marie Antoinette’s cheeks from her portraits. If you love color, this book will speak directly to your soul.
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In this week’s Milkshake, Edith talks us through a couple of her favorite palettes, including one that records the colors of beverages in the work of Colombian painter Fernando Botero: “I love [this palette], both for the colors and for the concept behind it,” Young says. “I had noticed that whether he was painting a still life or a genre painting or a portrait or an artist in their studio, he always had a beverage tucked away somewhere; there are always beverages strewn about these compositions. Maybe it’s still life and it made sense – but sometimes there are card players or a kind of funny scene in a bathroom, and there’s always like a little glass of orange juice or guava juice or an Orangina.”
Also in this Milkshake, Edith shares the initial inspiration behind this project: the 2011 documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Needs to Travel, about the legendary (and color-obsessed) fashion editor and kingmaker. As seen in the film, Vreeland yearned for a specific color of red: “Rococo with a spot of Gothic in it, and a bit of Buddhist temple – the color of the child to cap in any Renaissance portrait.” Young shares here how that informed the spirit of her book: “I was sitting there and I thought, What if you could see this concept that she’s talking about in sort of a grid array, the way that you would see a color chart?” Tune in for more of this inspirational and exceptionally colorful talk.
Diana Ostrom, who has written for Wallpaper, Interior Design, ID, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets, is also the author of Faraway Places, a newsletter about travel.
Milkshake, DMTV (Design Milk TV)’s first regular series, shakes up the traditional interview format by asking designers, creatives, educators and industry professionals to select interview questions at random from their favorite bowl or vessel. During their candid discussions, you’ll not only gain a peek into their personal homeware collections, but also valuable insights into their work, life and passions.