Having found lists of obscure/obsolete color names and rounded out the alphabet with a few simply-charming-to-me colors, each day, I’ll introduce a color and a swatch I’ve painted and then write about whatever comes to mind as I muse about the day’s color. Fair warning, my mind is a non-linear traveler, so who knows where my contemplations will take us.
V is for… Vantablack
Vantablack is typically considered to be the darkest color in the world—a super-black carbon coating that absorbs 99.965% of visible light.
As a paint color, “true” Vantablack is exclusively licensed to artist Anish Kapoor (creator of many large-scale public artworks, including Chicago’s famous Cloud Gate. However, this licensing is not without controversy, as many in the art community are outraged that one person can have sole access to a color.
The first association that came to me as I was contemplating this color was black holes, and apparently, I got sucked into one.
While I know Charles Bukowski wasn’t talking about Vantablack or black holes, I can’t help but think these lines are a perfect fit here:
“that shades into darkness and then into darker darkness and I can't see beyond that.”
I’m totally fascinated by black holes, and very luckily have a family member who studied them for her second Master’s degree and is working on her Ph.D. studying gravitational waves. While I’m often in the dark (haha), there’s no denying I’m sucked in by the sheer awesomeness of the universe.
Sometimes I have no clue how my brain works. Well, to be truthful, I don’t fully understand how any brain works. I’m mostly content knowing it’s magic contained in a cranium. But what I really mean is somehow, the oddest thoughts pop into my mind that I find highly entertaining, and yet I have no clue what triggered them. I decided long ago my gray matter was filled with rabbit holes, and my thoughts like to fall down them.
Last night this amusing thought came to me – would it be possible to describe oneself with one-word answers in 3 specific categories, and in doing so could we gleam something meaningful about that person? And the three categories that popped into my brain were: animal, scent, and shape.
So if I told you Crow, Frankincense, Spiral, do you think you’d have a sense of who I am? And would that person be the same as the me that says Elephant, Lilac, Lemniscate? Bee, Vanilla, Crescent? I proceeded to entertain myself with many many other perfectly-true descriptions and tried to see what they said about me. Is one cluster of descriptions enough? Does two or three add depth or just confuse things? Why did my mind come up with those specific categories in the first place? Would other categories be equally telling/amusing/more or less helpful? Eventually, I had to slam the door shut on all the pondering as I could feel my brain cells overheating.
But obviously, I’m still thinking about it today, albeit a bit differently. I love the mystery of things. I love looking at things symbolically, I like winding roads, and I love following clues. I love the mix of the perfectly simple and the mind-boggling complex, and that’s what each one of us is. And I find it endlessly delightful.
Showing you peeks into what I treasure is as soul-bearing as a most intimate conversation might be, and yet it’s also simply fun. Glance at me or look at me deeply – who I am doesn’t essentially change no matter how you choose to look. That’s true of every single thing in our awareness. What are we seeing? What are we ignoring? What eyes are we looking with? Am I seeing one facet of a jewel and imagining I’m seeing the whole thing, or am I taking a wider view and missing the amazing small bits? It’s all so interesting!
One more quick thing, though. Here’s one of my favorite crow images.
Some believe that Crow is a shapeshifter, simultaneously living in both the physical and spiritual words. And that Crow teaches that dissolution is part of the ever-changing nature of life, leading one through the difficult task of letting go, and into transformation and rebirth. Crow calls one to see through illusion and experience the oneness of being.
I used my darkest ink, but I’m wondering what my crow might look like if I had access to some Vantblack. I’m guessing Crow would be curious about that as well. But I guess we’ll never know.
What about you? More curious about black holes or rabbit holes? Have an opinion about ownership of colors? Ever seen the Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) in Chicago? Do tell – you know I’d love to hear.