“Very Peri” aka Purple is the Color of 2022, succeeding Illuminating (yellow) and Ultimate Gray in 2021.
Last year, Pantone’s colors of the year “encapsulated deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly”. I’m not sure we hit that mark, with COVID still looming over the horizon.
This year, the Pantone Color Institute’s Very Peri is said to “express what people are looking for that color can hope to answer, with a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expressions”. Indeed, hope has an important role to play during these Omicron times.
In its simplest expression, Red + Blue = Purple. But anyone with an appreciation for art will know that it’s not quite that simple.
For a very long time, purple was the color of royalty because, prior to the development of synthetic dye, it was almost impossible to produce organically. And that’s how things were done in the olden days.
Think back to the city of Tyre in today’s Lebanon. Tyrian purple came from a species of sea snail called Bolinus brandaris. To harvest purple, dye-makers had to crack open the snail’s shell, extract mucus and expose it to sunlight for a specific amount of time. It took as many as 250,000 snails to yield just 1 ounce of usable purple dye. Ultimately, it became a status symbol, i.e. “I have it, you don’t. Na. Na. Na. Na. Na”.
Purple was not popular among artists prior to the 19th century. A surge in the use of this color is attributed to the Impressionists who, at the time, were ridiculed for using it. The Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers, etc. opened the first of 8 exhibitions they would organize between 1874 and 1886 as an alternative to the often dark-toned, classical oeuvres displayed at the Salon de Paris. Said to suffer from “diseased retinas”, the purple hues used by Impressionists were considered, by some, to be the product of “mental derangement”.
Purple was also a big thing in the late 60’s. It was groovy beyond groovy, and no better represented than by “Purple Haze” from guitar legend Jimi Hendrix, who died tragically at age 27.
"He likes this girl so much, that he doesn't know what state he's in, ‘ya know? A sort of daze, I suppose. That's what the song is all about: Purple haze all around, don't know if I'm coming up or down. Am I happy or in misery, whatever it is, that girl put a spell on me.” (Jimi Hendrix)
And then, in 1984, Prince and the Revolution hit the mark with Purple Rain.
“When there's blood in the sky – red and blue = purple ... purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/God guide you through the purple rain.” (Prince)
Believe it or not, Prince was the man’s true name: Prince Rogers Nelson. He was the son of singer Mattie Della and pianist/songwriter John Lewis Nelson. Signed to Warner at the age of 19, he often played most or almost all the instruments on his recordings. Purple Rain won an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score.
Fast forward to 1992 when the beloved purple dinosaur, Barney, hit the PBS airwaves. Not as cool as Prince, unless you’re a kid and then even more! This incredibly popular anthropomorphic Tyrannosaurus rex provided joy to 2-7 year old children through dance and song, while reinforcing friendliness, huggability and optimism.
On a more serious note, in the political scene purple has been seen in America as a symbol of unity that can result from bringing red and blue together. It is beautifully worn by Michelle Obama below.
To bring an end to this purple-themed blog, I believe Alice Walker got it right when she said:
“It pisses off God if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” (Alice Walker, The Color Purple)
Now challenge yourself and your friends to our Very Peri 2022 Quiz of the Day, by downloading Quizefy from the app store if you haven’t already done so, then see how much you know and Strut Your Smart. Our Very Peri 2022 Quiz is only available today, then it disappears. We’ll be back again every Tuesday with a special blog posted at www.quizefy.com, along with a new trivia quiz on the same topic as the blog. Don’t forget to follow Quizefy on social media, so we can remind you of the upcoming blog and quiz content.