SNP’s word of the day: Gradient
Meaning: In terms of colour, a gradient is a smooth blending of light to dark, or from one colour to another.
Usage: It’s a gradient! It’s a double gradient! No, I’m kidding, and also sorry to make that joke, but gradient is a technical way of saying rainbow-coloured.
You should know it because: multi-hued gradients, or graduated shades of the same hue, are a major summer fad. The new-media artist Cory Arcangel has a show on at the Whitney, “Pro Tools,” which prescribes a method for creating screen-expanding, insanely easy beauty. Next to each of his subversively sorta-brilliant Photoshop “paintings,” made by using the program’s one-click gradient tool, is a placard with click-by-click instructions. It’s like: Yes, anyone can do this. But did you?
Graphic designers might say yeah, they have; gradients have been used in logo design for ages. In fashion, it feels newer. One of my favourite Resort 2012 shows is Christopher Kane’s Rainbow-Brite collection of simple, sharp-shaped school clothes. As per his wont, he made even the most serious fashion people smile with his elegant, somehow unkitschy reworking of pure child’s play.
If head-to-toe gradient seems grating to the eyes, try it on just the tips instead. London’s favourite nail artist, Sophy Robson, came up with a perfect handful of graduated violets in 2009 and it hasn’t been uncool since. Last month, touring Europe, Beyoncé flaunted the sunset on her fingers.
And that made me think, in turn, of photographer Eric Cahan’s work. His extra-saturated takes on the changes, permutations and supernatural gradients of the sky above are, in a word, heavenly.