Arts & Entertainment

The Power of Color

Jeff Koons

Lesson time 08:06 min

Learn how to use color as a tool for communicating with others.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Color Is Embedded in the World · Use Gradations to Reference Time · Work With What Moves You


[MUSIC PLAYING] JEFF KOONS: Color is one of the main tools an artist can use to communicate. Colors are embedded with meaning that can create a connection between you and the viewer. You know, if you're thinking about something that may be dealing with aspects of something sacred, you could think of maybe a purple. It could also have connotations also of death, the purple. If you're thinking of love, many times people will think of a red or they'll think of a pink. If you think of life, you could think of yellow and kind of it relates to the sun. So color is a really powerful tool, but it's also a way that we can communicate ideas. We can create symbols, and we can create mood with color. You could think of a Rothko painting, and you have a sense of mood. Or you walk into an interior, you walk into a room, and the color of the walls, the color of the fabric-- it's going to affect your feelings, the sensations that you have. If you were walking down the street, you can see the way advertisement uses color to kind of get you just to stop and to look at, you know, that bright pink that's right there or the red. Colors communicating to you about your environment. We can always look at everything and go back to what it means to come from the animal world. I mean, our biology. We're from that world. And as animals, you know, we see color. Like if we see red, it could be danger. I mean, we have to think about our environment. So color is always informing us about our environment and whether there could be danger or whether actually we could be more relaxed right at this moment. But, of course, as we've become freer and freer from the naturalistic world and we have control of our environments, we can also deal with colors that, you know, have less defined meaning. If you get into some of your pastel colors, I would think that they would be less defined, what their direct meaning would be, than a color that's very kind of saturated. [MUSIC PLAYING] You know, within my own work, I started to introduce color from being a painter and making different paintings. But then when I went into sculpture, the ready-made elements that I would work with would be bringing in the color, whether it was an inflatable flower, whether it was a vacuum cleaner, the color of the plastic of that vacuum cleaner or the color of the dust bag. When the color is inherent within the material, it feels more durable. This is an orange basketball. This color is embedded within the material that the basketball is made out of. To celebrate the color that's embedded in the world that we live in is something that I've always responded very well to. I've enjoyed in recent years working with live flowers. If you think of my Puppy sculpture, Puppy is filled with reds, and yellows, oranges, blues. And all of these colors are naturally embedded within the plant. Many times, though, you can find that you apply color onto the surface of something, a painting. ...

About the Instructor

One of the most important and influential artists working today, Jeff Koons is perhaps best known for his iconic Balloon Dog. Now he’s inviting you to an intimate, thought-provoking conversation about the history, purpose, and pleasures of art. Learn how color, scale, form, and texture can help you express ideas and communicate with others. Leave your self-judgment and fear behind—the world is waiting for your art.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons teaches you how color, scale, form, and more can help you channel your creativity and create the art that’s in you.

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