Student self-expression through color

Students applying color to different mediums

Jefferson Le and Melody Cui

Senior Eric Kim has pursued art since his freshman year, when he took his first formal art class at MVHS. Now, Kim works at an independent art studio and has been working on several art pieces, many of which he used in his college application portfolios. 

Kim says that — in these pieces and numerous others — he considers the color palette of the piece before any other step in the process. 

“I think [the color palette is] really important since color sets the whole tone and vibe of an artwork,” Kim said. “So, when I’m creating a piece I first of all, even before the sketch, I think having the theme is really important and having a color correlating to a theme is as important as drawing  a sketch or figuring out the composition of an art piece.”

Kim used a unique color palette for his sculpture piece this year titled “Expressionless Expressions.” 

“It was a sculpture and I used a very monotone palette with gray, white, black,” Kim said. “The sculpture was about human emotions and how they were primal, so it gives more of a primal, very raw feel. I used black, white and green in order to make a rock-like sculpture to make it seem very primal and raw.”

Senior Ajit Chamraj agrees with Kim that color sets a mood and can influence people’s emotions.

“In my culture we are very colorful people,” Chamraj said. “ [With the] Holi festival and stuff … we’re super into color. We use a lot of bright colors to make our community more vibrant.”

Chamraj specifically says that he enjoys expressing himself through different variations of his kurtas, which are loose, formal shirts from south Asia. 

Junior Lourdes Diaz noticed that there is a trend in the types of clothes she wears most often, which helps her choose the color of the clothing she buys. She prefers buying darker colors because they’re easier to pair with her other garments — she finds that brighter clothes only go well with certain outfits and clash with her skin tone. 

“I don’t go out of my way to get bright colored clothes,” Diaz said. “Because when it comes to it, I realized that when I have darker clothes, it’s usually more sustainable, because I’ll use those more than I have bright colors.”

Diaz also enjoys expressing herself through color, using her clothes as a canvas to express her mood for the day. However, sometimes she chooses her clothes to represent how she wants to feel, using colors to subconsciously influence her throughout the day.

“Usually I’ll wear something brighter or a bit more lively because I noticed that sometimes if I wear something a bit more colorful, I’ll be a bit more up-beat,” Diaz said. “If I wear something a bit darker, I’ll be a lot more chill or laid back and it’s usually because seeing that color turns something on in my brain. Basically color can either help me guide my mood or my mood will guide the color.”