Look around. Keep looking. What do you see?
I spy something blue. Something oxford blue, royal blue, steel blue. The washed-out denim fading your blue jeans into serenity. The pops of deep blue bringing life to your favorite blueberry muffin. The purple-tinted blue peeking through the clouds.
Blue is defined as the color between violet and green on the visible spectrum. It is no surprise then that we tend to think of color as a descriptor, a way to explain what we see in front of us. We view blue as a passive bystander in our life that we happen to encounter when we plunge into the ocean, or when we buy slightly avant-garde palazzo pants, or when we take the perfect Instagrammable photo in our go-to hipster (but not too hipster) cafe. We may appreciate its aesthetic beauty, but given its pervasiveness in the world around us, isn’t there more to color than meets the eye?
The WALK went blue this spring in hopes of revitalizing our understanding of the color. For the first time in its history, a single color dictated its production, from start to finish, from front cover to back cover. We chose We chose blue, not solely for its universal beauty, but rather for its universal presence – literally and figuratively. Unlike in the past, we wanted to begin with the tangible, as opposed to the abstract, and see where that took us. We found blue in both the most obvious of places and the most obscure of places, and we discovered that blue – in every hue, tint, and tone – is inescapable in the best possible way. From the blue of our environment (“Waste Not, Water Not”) to the blue of empowerment (“Declarations in Denim”), we explore how blue is far more ubiquitous than we could have ever thought.
Blue holds newfound significance in the 21st century. Amanda Kwon shows us through her political analysis, “Red & Blue & Nothing Inbetween?” that blue is more than the antithesis of red, while Emily Schwawrtz addresses blue as an important symbol of mental health in “How Fashion Takes Its Toll.” Karis Stephen’s student profile on Blue Bookhard proves that blue even makes for a pretty cool name. And in this day and age where a technological solution seems to exist for any and every problem, Emily Cieslak, in an in-depth analysis of Neutrogena’s Blue Light Therapy, finds that these miracle products aren’t always what they seem.
Blue came alive in its most visual form in this issue’s photo features. In “RGB,” blue became a means for transporting us to an alternate, sci-fi inspired world. “Girls Wear Blue” adopted a refreshing approach to gender norms by offering a subtle commentary on the way society still stigmatizes color. We danced with blue in the earliest of hours in “L’heure Bleue” and found that the truest of blues are often the ones to which we never bear witness. Our featured student group, Omar’s Hat, showed us a different kind of blue – the kind that cannot and should not be defined.
Through our experimentation with blue as our color palette of choice this spring, we have learned, above all, that color is anything but passive. Rather, it is a highly influential actor in our lives. It is what makes us feel the deepest of emotions and see the most breathtaking of sights. Blue is more than a product of our visual perception, more than the physical color we see with our eyes. Blue is the tranquility that soothes our souls, the late-night sadness that washes over us, and the rhythm that reverberates deep within us. From the smooth sounds of John Coltraine’s “Blue Train” to the haunting cinematography of David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet,” blue is what we can see, feel, and hear – all at the same time.
And so let us paint our lives with blue – with any color for that matter. Because to feel these senses, in the most intense of ways, in the deepest of shades, is what makes life anything but boring.
Image courtesy of Nadia Kim