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Flag Paintings

Though we have superb printing technology available to us, publishers in this country seem to have a varying opinion about the colors and designs of flags. Despite the specific color value range and design of flags established by each country, the flags reproduced in one publication often do not resemble those in another publication. While within the same publication, the same flags could be portrayed differently from one edition to another. Often the differences are so drastic that one color is printed as another  - See Comparison. Whether or not such a phenomenon is rooted in human error or unresolved printing difficulties, tape, nonetheless, shares the same color inconsistencies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

The colored tape is used for practical purposes; it is a means of indicating and distinguishing. Therefore, the colors do not have to be consistent within their own range of value, because they act as the representation of reds, blues, greens, yellows, and oranges at the same time. However, tape manufacturers too, have a varying opinion about which red should be the representation of all reds.  The red tape produced by one manufacturer often does not resemble the red tape produced by another. To express this idea of color inconsistency in flag publishing, I used various shades of tape on the same flag painting.

In this series, Luxembourg’s and Netherlands’ flags are adjacent to each other to demonstrate the problems with generalizing colors. As the Dorling Kindersley Ultimate Pocket Flags of the World states: “The tricolor flag [of Luxembourg] is almost identical to that of the Netherlands, except that it is longer and its blue stripe is a lighter shade.” Since there exist two such flags that appear to be almost identical, I see the need to hold the flag publisher to a higher standard of color accuracy in reproducing flags in general. Because of the publishers’ inaccuracy viewers, and I, must reference the Luxembourg and Netherlands simultaneously in order to interpret this abstract concept of “lighter shade.” On the other hand, my misrepresentation of Romania’s flag was a direct result of color ambiguity. By misreading the light yellowish-red as a dark orange from the source, I painted a flag that does not exist for a country not found on any map.

The colors of traditional paint never can be generalized, for it is almost impossible to find a color that cannot be obtained by mixing or layering. To incorporate effectively the issue of color generalization in painting, I see the need to discard the conventional painting medium and instead explore the similarities between tape and paint.

Tape can resemble brush strokes in that the fixed width of tape can be associated with the size of a paintbrush. One can adjust the way a brush is held to create a different width of brushstroke or, fill in a large area using repeated brush strokes.  The tape equivalents are to tear lengthwise or, use the tape repeatedly to fill space. The Norway flag painting illustrated these techniques, as well as an effort to simulate paint drips. The layering technique is a common painting process while it is also the only way to make certain colors possible. By layering different colors and thickness of tape, I was able to create different color intensities and maximize the color possibilities. The various thickness and material of tape can be seen as an equivalent to the tinting strength and opacity of traditional paint. Such method was used to create the Cyprus’ flag. In the process of making the flag of Seychelles, as tape layers started to build up, the visual impact created by the texture reminded me of encaustic painting.