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Color Theory

By Cienna-Paige Slattery

I chose words or phrases that I felt inspired by or a

deep personal connection with as the basis for my art. The six words and

phrases are: “family story”, “beyond self,” “trust,” “creating trauma to fight

trauma.” “relationships are complex,” and “learning through relationships.”

Based on the phrase, I chose different shapes and a different color scheme to

represent the feelings I associated with it.

Family Story by Cienna-Paige Slattery

"Family Story"

In class, we had discussed how each person has a family story that helps

create their identity— regardless of how big or small the story. Thinking about

my family story helped me to see the bigger picture about who I am and why I

am the way that I am. Though I had thought briefly about my family story

before, I hadn’t examined how it had shaped my identity closely because I have

never been close to my family and I don’t interact with a lot of my family. My

family mainly consists of me, my mom, my baby sister, and my younger sister.

We are not close to the rest of my family due to tragedy and racism. For my

representation of this phrase, I chose to represent my personal family story.

When I think of my family story, I cannot describe it without describing the

tragedy in the past that has caused my family to seperate. My immediate family

is also not very close. Though I have grown from the tragedy, I would associate

my family story mainly with sadness. I chose to use the monochrome theme

because I think the lack of variation in hues creates a somber mood and I chose

shades of blue because blue is associated with water, emotions, and sadness. For

the background color, I chose a blue with more gray hues than the other blues.

Since the background surrounds the rest of the shapes, I think that it is

important that the background color reflects the overall mood of my family

story. I chose a shade of blue with a strong gray hue because gray is a color that

I associate with emptiness and isolation — which in this context reflects the

separation and hardship within my family. I also chose to draw four different

shapes to represent the four people that I consider part of my immediate family.

I chose to draw each person in a different shape to reflect how each of us are

different. Though I chose monochrome to create a somber mood for the

artwork, I also chose it to represent how my immediate family is still united and

we all have each others backs, despite our differences.

Beyond Self by Cienna-Paige Slattery

“Beyond Self”

The phrase “beyond self” also inspired me to reframe how I think about my

identity. When I previously tried to define my identity, I mainly thought about

my beliefs. Thinking of my identity as extending beyond myself helps remind

me to think outside of my beliefs and interests when trying to define my

identity. I chose to draw this phrase as overlapping shapes because, to me, the

phrase “beyond self” points to how different outside influences from our

environment interact to shape who we are. In the artwork, when the shapes

overlap, they create a completely new color, showing how the combination of

different influences creates a unique outcome. For this artworkI also chose the

triadic theme. I chose the triadic color theme because I think that it has enough

variation in hues to demonstrate how different environmental influences can

be, but the colors are still connected enough to represent that the different

environmental factors work together and are interconnected. The overall

temperature of the picture is also warm while the saturation is high. I chose this

combination to represent liveliness and constant movement. Thinking of identity as beyond self reminds me that identity is constantly changing because

environmental influences are constantly changing.

Trust by Cienna-Paige Slattery


I also connect deeply to the word “trust.” Trust takes on a very deep meaning to

me. Trust does not only mean feeling physically safe to me, but it also means

feeling emotionally safe, feeling safe to be oneself, and trusting others to have

your back. To me, trust means that I don’t have to worry about fights splitting

me and someone else apart. For this artwork, I chose the split-complementary

color scheme. I chose this scheme partially to reflect how trust involves

togetherness— and strong hues of blue and purple dominate and unite most of

the artwork. On the other hand, I chose this theme because it does involve one

color that sticks-out— in this case it is the orange. I think that this bit of

contrast can portray several messages. First of all, it can show how one does not

necessarily have to fit in with everyone else to find a community of people that

they trust. Secondly, I think it reflects how trust is developed— that is, trust

tends to come gradually when someone is new to a community. I was also

intentional in the shapes I chose and in the placement of the shapes. I chose

somewhat abstract shapes because trust does not develop in only one way and

each relationship has to develop trust in its own way. Additionally, trust feels

different to many people. Similarly, I chose to place the shapes in sort of a spiral

to reflect how trust involves closeness and support. I also chose to place the

orange in the center to reflect the sense of community and support I feel when I

find a community that I trust. Finally, in choosing this color scheme I was

intentional in the temperature of the colors. Though cool colors can feel sad or

somber in some contexts— they can also feel homey and comfortable. Here, I

am using cool colors to reflect how trust feels homey and comfortable to me.

Creating Trauma to Fight Trauma by Cienna-Paige Slattery

“Creating Trauma to Fight Trauma”

Though the ph rase “creating trauma to fight trauma” stems from an exhibit by

Doreen Garner, we also discussed this concept in class. This phrase challenged

me to reflect on how social change is achieved and how social norms overlap

with activist efforts. When I talk about activism, I hear a lot of talk about what is

and isn't okay. Some people say that it is okay to advocate for change as long as

it does not make anyone else uncomfortable. There is also a push for activists to

always be respectful in their efforts— even towards their oppressor. Included in

this notion of respectfulness, is being mindful of how efforts might impact the

viewer. In this way, inflicting trauma on viewers would not be respectful

because it would certainly make viewers uncomfortable. However, I think that

allowing people to remain comfortable also allows people to ignore injustice.

This phrase to me reflects how it is sometimes necessary to shock audiences in

order to get them to notice pain and injustice and to understand the message

being portrayed. As this phrase embodies an approach that is shocking and

intense, I wanted to use a color scheme with high contrast in colors and very

prominent shapes. I chose the complementary color scheme because this was

one of the color schemes that seemed to have the most contrast in its colors.

The high contrast in the artwork is apparent in the green background vs the red

shapes. This contrast demonstrates how this approach does not fit into what is

thought to be “appropriate.” Likewise, though these are complementary colors,

the red and green seem to clash. I think that this reflects how this approach will

feel uncomfortable to the audience. To reflect the intensity of this topic, I chose

to use colors with high saturation. I also chose to primarily use strong hues of

red for my shapes because I think that red is an intense color and red makes me

think of blood and pain. Finally, I used large shapes to further reflect how this

method is very shocking and in-your-face.

Relationships are Complex by Cienna-Paige Slattery

“Relationships are Complex”

I also felt a deep connection with the phrase “relationships are complex.” I’ve

been focusing on trying to build better relationships with people lately. I’ve

found that even when two people are very compatible there are often so many

factors that influence the relationship that it is hard for it to be consistent. I

chose to use abstract shapes for this because this aspect of relationships makes

them very abstract. No two relationships are the same and each relationship has

to develop in its own way. I think that using abstract shapes reflects how

complex relationships are. Part of why relationships are so complex is because

is can be difficult for people to make all the pieces of themselves fit with

someone else's pieces and it takes work to make them fit. Here, the shapes are

so abstract that it would be difficult to make them fit together and they very

obviously do not naturally fit together. For a similar reason I used the tetradic

color scheme. This color scheme seemed to have the most variation in hues. I

think this variation added to the message that the shapes do not naturally fit

together. I think this variation also reflects how people in relationships can be

very different from one another. Additionally, the high saturation and value

helps communicate liveliness and movement much like in my artwork for

“beyond self.” In relationships, people are constantly discovering more about

each other and encountering new problems. The people must then find new

ways to cope with these problems and make their pieces fit together.

Learning through Relationships by Cienna-Paige Slattery

“Learning through Relationships”

The phrase “learning through relationships” inspired me to think more about

what I have learned through my relationships. It also pushed me to think about

how the people in my life have inspired me to grow as a person. Overall, this

phrase has a very happy mood to me. To reflect this happy mood, I chose colors

with a warm temperature for my artwork. I also used the analogous color

scheme to reflect unity. In this artwork, I wanted to use unity to show how

different people in my life have helped me work towards my goals by inspiring

me or teaching me in different ways. I was also mindful in choosing my shapes. I

chose to make all of the shapes triangles to reflect how all these people have

pushed me towards my goal— though I decided to make the triangles different

sizes and colors to reflect how each person has helped me in a different way.

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