You- Auxochrome, I- Chromophore
As an artist, portraiture has always been of interest to me, particularly how one abstracts an image of themself in order to achieve deeper, personal meanings. A famous artist known for doing this is surrealist Frida Kahlo, whose mesmerizing self-portraits demonstrated a timeline of her tumultuous life. I was inspired to create this piece entitled “You- Auxochrome, I- Chromophore”, which was based off a quote from a love letter she had written to her husband, Diego Rivera. She wrote “You (Rivera) were called AUXOCHROME the one who captures colors. I CHROMOPHORE – the one who gives color”.
I decided to take on the role of Kahlo as described in this quote, but I originally intended for myself to be the only section in bright, vibrant acrylics with the background in grayscale. The fishermen in the background were to be collecting the color that was to flow from the large head in the foreground, as they were the ones who capture the color; however, I found as I did the underpainting that I preferred the entirety of the painting in color. It seemed truer to Kahlo’s quote of one who gives color, chromophore, to refrain from using black paint completely, so I changed the intent of who the auxochrome was to be, from the painted figures in the background to the viewers in the audience themselves. This way, the audience can capture the color while they view the piece, making the experience the audience has with the piece much more personal.
The elements of art play large roles in the success of this piece, particularly color, value, texture, and space. Color keeps this piece synonymous with the quote of inspiration, as a plethora of colors can be found throughout it. Value, especially on the head in the foreground and the figures in the background, is found via the placement of darker complementary colors placed next to lighter colors. Texture can be found in the ripples in the water, the shrubbery on the islands, and the algae on the head. Finally, space is apparent in the distinct foreground, middle ground, and background.