As an artist, I’m drawn to hot pink paintings, a shade you’ll frequently find in my work. That’s because, as a millennial, I was culturally indoctrinated to love pink. Growing up, all the best toys, candies, and cartoon characters featured this sweet shade (think Jem and the Holograms!) For me, pink is like a hug. It’s comfortable, saccharine, friendly, and familiar.
Then in the 1990s, pink got a glow up. Far from childish, the hue found a punchy new flavor in fluorescence, or neon as we called it — bold and bright to match the newfound identities we were experimenting with. See, it was the same pink we loved, but now edgy, with attitude. A pink that was not demure and cuddly, but in-your-face and unapologetic about her confidence. Punk. Fierce. Fun. Hot pink was all grown up.
Like all good trends of the 90s and Noughties, hot pink has made a big comeback. From fashion to fine art, the shade is both nostalgic and on trend. The color started popping up on the runways at Dior and Versace — then completely saturated Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Valentino fall/winter 2022 collection in a custom Pantone hue called “Valentino Pink PP.” Celebrities are sporting hot pink from head-to-toe in monochrome outfits on the red carpet or pops of the color in their accessories to cap off an otherwise minimalist look. It’s the must-have hue of the moment while also a trip down memory lane for everyone who grew up during Y2K. Hot pink has staying power — and that makes hot pink paintings the perfect accent at home.
THINK PINK COLOR PSYCHOLOGY
In color psychology, pink is often associated with femininity and flirtatiousness in Western culture. It is said to have a soothing effect on people and is used as a paint color everywhere a calming influence could be of benefit, from prisons to hospitals. A positive color that evokes passion and romance, pink makes you think of Valentine’s Day and springtime, optimism, and hope. Some may find it cloying, especially if it was forced upon them as a gender signifier. Yet pink can be universally flattering and goes beyond the binary. And nowhere is that more evident than in the ubiquity of millennial pink.
In the last decade, millennial pink brought the shade back into fashion. Also known as blush, this Instagram-ready shade for all genders took the world of interiors by storm, thanks to associations with childhood nostalgia. From pink velvet furniture to soft pink walls, rose-gold iPhones to product packaging, the color’s popularity gave a soothing feeling of positivity — something millennials were in desperate need of in a world gone mad.
Today, hot pink turns up the volume on all the meanings of this formerly sweet shade to give it strength and sensuality. Adopted as a symbol of the punk movement, hot pink opts for fierce over traditionally feminine stereotypes of softness. A bold and creative choice, it stands out from the crowd and lends a burst of energy wherever it goes. In home décor through hot pink paintings, this creative choice is no longer childish or confined to the nursery room. We love to see her punky charm included in the wettest of paintings and the fresh ‘fits of today.
BRING PINK HOME WITH HOT PINK PAINTINGS
So you know how to wear it, now how do you bring it home? Just like in your fashion choices, pink in home décor makes a bold statement and creates a vivid impression, especially paired with neutral colors. It’s also incredibly versatile, oozes warmth and comfort, and keeps us upbeat. We could all use a dose of hope, whether you go with the pop of color in a small print or a statement piece in screaming pink over your mantel.
Often associated with love and lust, the color pink goes inward in “Amame Pink” by Sebastian Montoya, which urges its audience to “always love yourself,” according to the artist. The captivating black aerosol on a bold pink background provides contrast that underscores the message, and the overall color palette exudes hope and positivity — “vital instructions and a reminder to help you bring that same love to the world and experience life in a better form,” Montoya writes of the piece. This artwork would be an excellent reminder to place somewhere you’ll look every day as you head out the door to conquer the world with kindness.
A blanket of pink smothers the swimming hole, and the rose air stagnates above the promise of relief in a greasy-gasoline pool below. What can I say about John Paul Kesling’s work that conveys the excitement and Smeagle-like desire to covet one of his landscape paintings? Kesling’s paintings are gateways, functioning as portals to other places that are stained by a veil of colorful memory and experience. Not as simple as a direct representation of a remote location, Kesling has added a layer of creative perspective, embedding within the image an emotional appeal through color to our response to the land he presents us. Be sure to check out his showroom for more hot pink paintings in sunset hues. In his artworks inspired by the American landscape, he reminds me that hot pink imbues the natural world too.
I am gently lulled into the reverie-like paintings of Xi Zhang. Zhang’s paintings appear as a dreamscape of an ethereal realm or perhaps of a fondly recalled memory. Rendered in peppermint and cotton-candy pinks, the color palette lends a taste of sweetness to our experience of his vision. Brush marks are shakily scrawled, yet diligently committed to the surface of the image, a transcription of the ephemeral vision before it dissipates forevermore.
An of-the-moment color trend with the power to last beyond passing popularity, hot pink paintings are a great option to add a blast of energy, optimism, and a reminder of uncomplicated childhood to your grown-up abode.
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Think pink in the comments: What are your associations with the color pink? Would you put a hot pink painting in your home?
Elizabeth Winnel has garnered attention for her vibrant and photorealistic oil paintings of mouths and lips. Her bold, colorful creations are as expressive as they are unique, and her work has been featured in more than a hundred solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Nashville, Berlin, London, Toronto and other cities. As an accomplished artist and expert of both Fine Arts and Design, she has collaborated on many significant projects with globally recognized enterprises, including VH1 in New York City and Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Her work has been featured in numerous publications including Blouin Art Info, Paprika Southern, Savannah Magazine, The Connect, West Elm Catalogue, Juxtapoz, VH1 among others. A native Canadian, Winnel is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design (M.F.A., painting, 2013; B.F.A., illustration, 2008), and also studied Fine Arts at Fanshawe College in Ontario, Canada. Winnel held positions as Professor and Instructor of Painting at Savannah College of Art and Design for seven years.