The Magnet 063: Grab Bag
Color codes, ambivalent painting, incredibly strange music
As I write this, it’s 86 degrees here in Los Angeles. I prefer temperatures in the mid-70s, but it’s 112 in Phoenix and 119 in Death Valley, so I can’t complain. When I finish writing this issue of The Magnet, I’ll sit in the shade and finish reading Kaoru Takamura’s 600-page crime novel, Lady Joker, Vol 1.
What is your color code?
The goal is to pay close attention to various specific material manifestations of color in everyday life — a splash of red from the label of an old tomato sauce can that you use to store loose change, say, or the blue handles on a trusty pair of scissors that you use every day.
Josh was inspired by the greenish-yellow color of J.R.R. Tolkien’s author’s statement on the back of the 1965 paperback edition of The Fellowship of the Ring, which Josh had read as a child. That particular color, says Rob, had since “become synonymous, for [Josh], with the escapist high fantasy associated with Tolkien.”
Reading this, I was immediately reminded of my first Hot Wheels toy car, which my parents gave me for Christmas in 1968. It was a Splittin’ Image with almost the same yellow-green color. Whenever I see this color, it brings back happy memories of playing with my Hot Wheels cars and other Mattel marvels, like Creepy Crawlers, Incredible Edibles, and The Strange Change Machine.
Another magic color in my Color Code is the pinkish red coming out of the treasure chest on the Frazetta-painted cover for Eerie #3 from 1966.
Next in Josh’s Color Codes series is a meditation on teal by Marc Weidenbaum (of Disquiet.com) and another on zinc chromate by a former Air National Guard serviceman fascinated with the muddy yellow/green primer used on aluminum.
Share your Color Code in the comments and publicly via Instagram with the hashtag #colorcodestory. Rob and Josh will also keep an eye on The Magnet comments for stories that might be included in the series.
What is going on in this painting?
I came across this painting on the excellent Futility Closet blog. “American painter William Rimmer produced this enigmatic image in 1872,” says the author. “A man runs through a palace. Is he fleeing or pursuing? What is the ghostly figure in the parallel corridor beyond him? And whose shadow is entering from the right?”
The painting is at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Its page about the picture has a note about Rimmer:
An accomplished sculptor, teacher, painter, businessman, anatomist, and physician, Rimmer was one of Boston’s most noted artists in the 1860s and 1870s, though contradiction and controversy marked his professional career. He was learned and ambitious, but worked quickly with unstable painting materials and techniques. He aspired to the highest social circles, yet often undermined his position with his quick temper and irascible disposition.
(Fun fact: Rimmer’s 1870 drawing, Evening: Fall of Day, inspired Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song Records logo.)