When I first used pink in my art I hated the colour. I chose it for over-the-top girlishness, seduction and as a lewd reference to 'pink bits' (slang for female genitalia). I preferred the hottest, brightest, most intense shades – for paint and panties. Back then, my favourite was Elsa Schiaparelli's Shocking Pink. I liked the idea of the colour more than the colour itself.
Over the years, pink became a signature colour in my work. I refined it in 2008, adding white and a little yellow. I had grown tired of the purely conceptual. I wanted to look at the colour and feel pleasure. To me, at least, the current version of Dooney Pink is sensual and gentle:
Last time I saw my framer, she asked if I knew about Baker-Miller Pink (below). She said it reminded her of mine. I looked it up when I got home. I was amused to discover it's close to the pink I mixed for myself and was made with a similar intention – to create a pleasant feeling. Baker-Miller Pink was named by Alexander Schauss in the late 60s. He claimed the colour reduced hostile, violent or aggressive behavior. In the early 70s it was used to paint several prison and psychiatric facilities with the hope that it might soothe inmates' behaviour. Early results were positive but later results indicated an increase in violence. A report in 1998, titled The Effects of Baker-Miller Pink on Biological, Physical and Cognitive Behaviour, revealed conflicting results. Personally, it reminds me of musk sticks; a sickly sweet confection made of sugar, gelatine and musk oil flavour.
The idea of being imprisoned in a room painted in either pink makes me feel nauseous. I don't have much interest or faith in colour psychology these days. And yet I still find the very particular shade I mixed for Dooney Pink pleasing – and pleasurable.
Top: Self-portrait in pink panties, video study for my Lake Eyre series.
Middle: Dooney Pink, since around 2008.
Last: Baker-Miller Pink.