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04/10/2015

Inspiration Niçoise

My holiday this year was spent in the beautiful city of Nice on the Côte d’Azur. It is a fascinating and intriguing city and I found plenty of design inspiration whilst wondering the Old Town. This included some amazing hand crafted typography – I couldn’t get over the wealth of hand painted signs and my camera was soon rammed full of photos of the lettering, as close up to the detail as I could get. Here’s just a few examples…

Whilst I was there I also made a trip to MAMAC – Nice’s leading contemporary art gallery – where I was introduced to the work of Nice’s very own Yves Klein (1928-1962). As I entered the exhibition space I was greeted with works in the most unreal ultraviolet blue hue.

Ives Klein

Having never come across him before I learnt that Yves Klein is best known for his trademark ultramarine pigment, which he patented as International Klein Blue in 1961.

“Blue…is beyond dimensions, whereas the other colors are not.”

Being in a city where the sea and sky are shades of the most vivid blue, turquoise and Aquamarine I could imagine how Klein had been inspired by his surroundings to create this shade. And of course images can’t portray the true quality of the colour which is so vivid it really draws your eye and creates the strangest extra dimension to his work.

Yves Klein Blue

Starting in the mid-1950s, Klein made retinal blue monochromes and the pigment would also feature prominently in his Anthropometry paintings, for which Klein smeared nude women with blue pigment and used them as human brushes on canvas, sometimes in elaborate public performances. Klein’s work anticipated Mininalism, Performance art and Conceptual art.

A truly great inspiration for the bold use of colour. Find out more about Yves Klein here.