Mark Tansey’s Color Wheel
by Site Author
Mark Tansey is a painter with an interesting way of finding ideas. He created a device that he calls a “color wheel.” The color wheel is a heavy wooden table with three spinning wheels on its surface. Each wheel is covered with words.
Here is a picture of Tansey next to the table.
And here are the wheels.
The inner wheel contains nouns: “pathologists, columbus, human template, …” The middle wheel contains verbs: “neutralizing, atomizing, demonizing, …” The outside wheel contains nouns: “decoy, plumbers, apologists, …”
Tansey spins the wheels, and then uses the resulting noun-verb-noun as inspiration for his paintings.
These days, it’s easy for anyone to build a color wheel for themselves. Here’s an abbreviated replica, coded in Python.
import random inner_wheel = ["pathologists", "columbus", "human template"] middle_wheel = ["neutralizing", "atomizing", "demonizing"] outer_wheel = ["decoy", "plumbers", "apologists"] print random.choice(inner_wheel), "-", random.choice(middle_wheel), "-", random.choice(outer_wheel)
I ran this script once, and it printed: “pathologists – demonizing – apologists.” Make of that what you will.
I post this not because the idea is cute, but because it might be useful. Creativity is about making connections. Tansey used the color wheel to prime the pump.