Color Signatures by British artist Jaz Parkinson visualizes famous novels as book covers through the authors’ references to color made in each text. Using an excel spreadsheet, the artist first keeps a tally of each time the author’s words evoke a color as she reads. Instances can include direct references to a color, such as the mention of the “yellow brick road” in “The Wonderful Wizard of OZ,” or the colors corresponding to depicted objects, as in the descriptions of the flashes of rifle shots in “The Red Badge of Courage.” After completing the novel and noting the corresponding colors, Parkinson colors in each cell, and groups similar colors together. Finally, she reorders the groups of colors to form an appealing color scheme, and creates the final print using Adobe Photoshop. The result of the entire painstaking process is a unique striped fingerprint that presents an imaginative way of looking at the content of a novel.
So far, Parkinson has created covers for “The Color Purple,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “1984,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “The Great Gatsby,” and “The Book of Revelations,” among others. Her process often yields surprising results: “A Clockwork Orange” is dominated by red and has little orange, while “The Color Purple” has only traces of purple, but features white prominently. “Alice in Wonderland,” in spite of its phantasmagorical descriptions, is surprisingly lacking when it comes to color use. Parkinson notes that over a third of the novel’s colors are white, with the remaining color references being limited to the most basic mentions of color. On the other hand, “Revelations” holds true to its apocalyptic themes; references to jewels, white horses, blood, and fire make the color scheme as frightening as its content.
Her prints are available for sale on Etsy, but click through to see more of the surprising images below.