Pantone swatches become more than (arguably) the world’s best color-matching system in the surreal photos of Italian artist and graphic designer Andrea Antoni. On his Instagram, Antoni shares images of breathtaking Italian vistas, serendipitously matched to a curated selection of Pantone swatches inserted into the frame
Although his swatch selections always represent colors present in the original photo, the artist deliberately chooses and omits certain color swatches, an act that adds a certain degree of contrast and emphasis to each composition, like a guiding hand to focus the viewer’s gaze.
Beyond the digital insertion of his hand and an accompany swatch, Antoni frequently manipulates his original images, in one instance transforming a daytime shot of a barren tree into a fisheye collision of celestial bodies, anchored by a blue toned Pantone swatch.
Antoni began posting his Pantone manipulations to Instagram roughly a year ago, but the artist explains that these works have been part of his practice for far longer. “Although there is a first published image on Instagram, the idea itself came much earlier,” Antoni tells Creators. “Many years ago, I would regularly publish the Pantone color of the day that matched the sky above my house.”
“As a graphic designer, I’ve always loved the Pantone fan decks, although more for their joyfulness and color than for their intended purpose. So it happened one day that I took a particularly colorful picture and tried to combine it with the related Pantone color. Initially, I would publish the occasional picture once in a while, but now about one third of my published photos are produced this way.”
Antoni’s ever-increasing infatuation with these images is partially the result of a desire for nostalgic preservation. “The images reflect the way I see the world, or the memory I have of some places. Some show the sensations that these places evoke in me,” he reveals. “When I heavily modify the composition, it reflects my memory and the evocations of that particular place to me. “
“While it is definitely these same places in the pictures, it is also not them; colors have changed, buildings are cut out and presented in different ways. The result is a world that is unreal from one point of view, but extremely true from another. That’s the place of memory; real and recreated at the same time,” Antoni says.