It was Henry Ford who said, “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants, so long as it is black.” This was for the convenience of production, but in effect, Henry Ford was giving his customers all the colours because black contains every single one of them in its make-up. So, we shall explore the uses of black in art, fashion, and décor, to see where this takes us.
The Black Colour Palette
The colours that make black are the primary colours of red, green, and blue. If you take away white, then you will end up with cyan, magenta, and yellow. Technically, black is not a colour at all. Black will absorb all the colours that are in the visible spectrum and then reflect none of them. So, if it reflects any light at all, then the colour is not black, but likely to be a dark drey. An artist will take this into account when mixing oil paints.
So, if you mix all the colours to get black, how do you make white? Well, by mixing red, green, and blue light you will obtain white light.
Black and White
The colour combination of black and white conjures up images of zebras or chess boards. So, if you are decorating the inside or your home, why have the black and white squares on the wall, when you can make them a tabletop and play chess or draughts on them? If you are into animal prints without much colour, then zebra prints are an ideal way of decorating walls, clothing, and other items.
In the 1960s, the black and white colour combination became popular, and I am not just talking about television pictures, black and white dresses hit the streets. They were available to buy in fashionable shops, such as those along Carnaby Street in London. Dresses in this colour could be found in a selection of thick stripes and geometric shapes. Mary Quant, for instance, was famed for her black and white geometric mini-skirts. Her special edition Mini was manufactured in two body colours, diamond white and jet black. It is two extremes of colours but they do seem to work well in combination. If something is “black and white” it is thought to be simple, and these designs were, but at the same time, effective.
Stylish and Elegant
Black worn on its own or in combination with others represents sophistication. This is because it fits all circumstances and goes with any other colour. It will, in this sense, never go out of fashion. As a colour of fashion, it empowers women and makes them feel more confident. Wearing black will make you look slimmer. Neuroscientists say that it is about how our eyes see colours. So, for a stylish and elegant look, black can always be considered a friend.
In terms of Gothic décor, black is one of the most common colours that is used. It is often used in combination with red to create the Gothic look. Black, as a colour, relates to power, death, evil, elegance, and mystery. Its mystery can be linked to the fear of the unknown. So, if you want to create this feeling in your artwork, dress this way, or turn your home into a Gothic castle, then you cannot go far wrong choosing black as a colour, whether it is a colour in its own right or not.
In summary, artists will create black by mixing all the primary colours, it will be used in combination with white to recreate the fashion of the 60s, or to provide a stylish or slimming look on its own, and if desired, be combined with red to create the Gothic look.