Spring color quest (2): Pluralistic color

1 Jun

(Read the first installment, “March flowers brought May showers.”

My next ventures in search of color tended toward more pluralistic sources than Macy’s or Merriam-Webster, 3M Post-it Notes or an educational institution the size of New York University.

For a more heartfelt depiction of Brazilian color than the Macy’s flower show could offer, the next day (March 31) I finally checked out of the library a DVD I’d been seeing on the shelf for many months, Colors of a Creative Culture, by David Zucker.

As the website of the production company (Artist of Life Music & Films) describes in its resources for teachers:

Colors of a Creative Culture introduces us to artists in and around the city of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. In the film we see them engaged in community arts projects designed to counteract the visual pollution of graffiti and commercialism by filling public places with colorful hand-painted art.

…a great antidote to the insipid sameness of the drugstore–dominated cityscape referenced by my “Pastel Drugstore Markers” dream.

(Although I had forgotten it until now, I previously mentioned this DVD  and the company’s Project Found Sound in my post “Sound sampling and Sao.”)

Rhodadendron at NYBG (photo by DTH-LTJK)

Rhodadendron at NYBG
(photo by DTH-LTJK)

On April 4, I went on an Outdoors Club walk through the New York Botanical Garden. The azaleas flamed hot pink, but we didn’t get close up to them, and magnolias hung heavily in cream streaks with purple-pink.

However, pastel yellow was more common, constituting a large planting of daffodils or jonquils and carpeting low ground in the woods with delicate flowers.

Carpet of yellow at NYBG (photo by DTH-LTJK)

Carpet of yellow at NYBG
(photo by DTH-LTJK)

The next day (April 5), The New York Times website published “Colors of the Caldron A New Generation Discovers Grow-It-Yourself Dyes,” showing fabrics infused with homemade extracts of red cabbage and yellow sour grass.

The weekend occasioned my family’s traditional Saturday-night Easter egg dyeing and—although I’ve never seen it because I’m out of town then—the Easter parade down Fifth Avenue. Irving Berlin‘s song about it dates to 1933.

In your easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You’ll be the grandest lady in the easter parade.

Three Easter hats by the Tipsy Topper (photo from Idiosyncratic Fashionistas)

Three Easter hats by the Tipsy Topper
(photo from Idiosyncratic Fashionistas)

The parade was already had a 50-year tradition behind it by the time Berlin wrote his lyrics. NYCxplorer.com author Jeff Dobbins explains:

The Easter Parade began in the 1880s when the denizens of “Millionaire Row” (Fifth Avenue in the 50s, lined with Gilded-age mansions) left Easter services at grand churches like St. Thomas Episcopal, Fifth Ave Presbyterian, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and took to the avenue.

By the turn of the 20th century, extravagant ladies hats became a focus, often broad-brimmed and trimmed with ostrich feathers, flowers, and stuffed birds.

More like this one on Dobbins’s site:

NYCxplorer.com photo of blue-spray Easter bonnet

NYCxplorer.com photo of blue-spray Easter bonnet

On the avenue, fifth avenue, the photographers will snap us,
And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure.

…Berlin sang. Who could resist?

Easter bonnets on Mitch Broder's Vintage New York

Easter bonnets on Mitch Broder’s Vintage New York

Yet what did I dream after this additional spate of color saturation? A dream on Easter morning (April 9) very similar to the pastel Post-its at CVS of my April 1 dream—this time lacking even those insipid bits of color.

Daytime. I walk (alone?) into a vast department store. It’s a single floor, below grade. The entrance I’ve come through is nondescript—a single door onto a landing overlooking the selling floor. At street level, there are glass walls / windows on my side and the longer, left side. There may be something specific I’m planning to buy. (Feeling)  I  scoff and harden at the size of the store. There’s too much; it’s decadence. Overwhelming.

My second, much longer dream the same morning was “High-Rise Conference Hotel,” and given that I intensely dislike the aesthetic sterility of high-rise buildings, and the being so cut off from the outdoors, that dream continued the sense of tedium and the insipid. However, there was one glimmer of improvement there: There were flowers painted on my fabric-covered violin case.

(Read the third installment.)

3 Responses to “Spring color quest (2): Pluralistic color”


  1. Color quest, fall edition « - September 23, 2012

    […] One of those posts mentions a DVD titled Colors of a Creative Culture, about street artists in and around the city of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, engaged in community art projects: […]

  2. Spring color quest (1): March flowers brought May showers « - June 2, 2012

    […] Categories Actual Dream, Arts, Seasons, Spaces, Visual Arts ← Tikkun olam TV Spring color quest (2): Pluralistic color → […]

  3. Spring color quest (3): Finally, an explosion of color « - June 2, 2012

    […] the first and second […]

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