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.
Cat. Citrus. Circle. (very alliterative!) I had heard of that color but think it’s odd that someone can own it. I loved the ideas and speculation about black holes when I was studying astronomy in college. They didn’t know much about them then; I’m sure there is much more information now.
How fun that college astronomy piqued your interest in black holes. Black holes are fascinating, and it amazes me that the idea of them was first presented in 1786, and then largely forgotten until 1917. And now, research is booming.
Wolf, rose, pyramid. Was I those yesterday? Will I be those tomorrow?
Yves Klein trademarked his Klein Blue. Tiffany & Co have a trademark on the aqua blue of their packaging… Responding to the Anish Kapoor Vantablack controversy, British artist Stuart Semple created what he calls the “world’s pinkest pink” and banned Kapoor from using it. When buying the paint, one has to state:
“I am not Anish Kapoor, I am in no way affiliated with Anish Kapoor, I am not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor.”
Since then, Semple also began selling Yellowest Yellow, Greenest Green, and Loveliest Blue, all of which Kapoor is banned from buying.
Is that the sort of black hole you fell down??!!! YAM xx
Indeed, Yamini, that’s precisely the black hole that caught me. And what makes me grin even more, I apparently joined you in your shifting time black hole of descriptors. I just finished reading a children’s book about a wolf, I put on my favorite rose-colored sweater as the night has gotten cold, and I pulled a book about the Kings Valley and its pyramids to loan to a friend. Life is such a delightful mystery!
In the field of black holes, I can say that Event Horizons interest me. Where rabbit holes are concerned, I didn’t mind Alice’s busy bunny but wouldn’t have been inclined to follow him. 🙂
It *is* a bit odd that an artist should be able to “own” a color. It makes me wonder how Crayola handles the licensing of their billion shades of blue. There is a Crayola color called bluetiful that I am particularly fond of. I’d hate to think of it as being individually and exclusively “owned.” It would mean I’d not have access to it, which would make me feel blue.
Bluetiful is a fun name. I know Crayola often runs contests to name their colors, but I sometimes think about who it is who names colors for other companies. Are there only a few naming specialists who get to name hundreds of products, or does each company appoint a worker on a whoever-is-available basis, and hopes inspiration hits. Curious though I might be, I will not fall down that research rabbit hole. 🙂
I’m surprised I’ve never heard of Vantablack as a shade of black before. Perhaps because of its license…
Yes, I imagine that’s true.
Some days I’m: Falcon|Ocean|Line. Other days I’m: Dolphin|Vanilla|Circle
This post was so magical and made me happy, I’d like to go back to A and read all your challenge posts. I was looking for a follow button for your blog. How can I follow you?
Thans for your kind words, Phoenix. And thank you for the heads about about the missing blog subscription button. I think a black hole might have claimed it! I’ll have to speak to my website whisperer about it, and see if we can reclaim it. In the meantime, I’ll drop you an email and I can get you subscribed.
Vicuña, cinnamon, spiral.
I think it’s stupid for one person to own a color.
I prefer rabbit holes to black holes, because part of the fun is coming back out and sharing what you discovered.
Alphabet of Alphabets: Vanishing Viano
A perfect point about rabbit holes, Anne!