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Color Academy

Don Pavey looking at the Munsell tree.

Don Pavey
An artist and innovative art researcher, Don brings aesthetics into the light of day, and into the kitbag of the practising artist, out of the sophistry of semantic philosophy. His speciality is the psycho-aesthetics of colour, and its power to create different scenarios and reveal subtle aspects of character, as does his diagnostic computer program ProMICAD, approved by the UK Government and used in schools, universities and careers agencies. Notably, he introduced game theory into art and design. His researches were sustained over 20 years as Senior Lecturer at Kingston College of Art and Design, and for many years was in charge of Basic Design and art and design dissertations for BA(Hons) and MPhil courses at what is now Kingston University. His research was continued by Roy Osborne at Oxford Brookes University. He is cofounder of both the Colour Reference Library at the Royal College of Art and the National Art Education Archive at Bretton Hall, under the aegis of Leeds University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Associate of the Royal College of Art with the Medal of Special Distinction. In 1997 he was awarded the Newton Medal of the Colour Group (Great Britain) for his unique contribution to colour research.

Mentor and Friend
I met Don when I was at university and since then I have had a pleasure working on many projects with him. He is my mentor and has had a massive influence on my life and work. Together we were working on many books.

Colour Concepts covers colour traditions of ancient and modern, Eastern and Western art and design, including curious instances of contemporary colour aesthetics based on functions of the mind, such as Intuition, Thinking, Feeling and Sensation. It also contains a dictionary of palettes and a dictionary of pigments.

Colour Engrained in the Mind describes the rationale behind user-friendly computer profiling tests that analyse peoples’ best attributes and hidden talents. Projective colours and gestalts have been researched over many years, and the history of the projective symbolism has been followed from the earliest clinical psychiatry to the present day, enriched by seeing it in the context of the history of art, zeitgeist and aesthetics. Special emphasis has been based on the four Jungian psychological functions, leading to the concept of the sublimation of vices into virtues, through the use of the profiling test ProMICAD.

Tibetan Buddhists accept colours as human energies. The same colour can possess a positive virtue, or a negative vice, such as terrifying Unreason, Arrogance, Anger, Misunderstanding and Delusion Colours. A vice can be transformed or sublimated into a principal virtue, such as Intuition, Fairness, Right Judgement or Intellect. Mandalas show the universe divided into four quadrants, blue, yellow, red and green, each being controlled by a meditation Buddha of the right colour. Above these zones a white meditation Buddha presides and the suppliant is awaken to an experience, beyond wisdom and spiritual ecstasy, known as Nirvana.

A brief history of systems of colour symbolism from prehistory to modern information technology. Archetypal powers were ascribed to colours in the past because of their evocative qualities in everyday life, qualities caused by physiological aspects of colour perception. Long enduring colour systems included the Greco-Roman theories of the colours of the temperaments. These and the classical musical modes were interpreted in colour in art. Before the early Renaissance, learned alchemists had personalised the colours of the planets and Christian dignitaries introduced the liturgical colours. 

The power of colour has been used by great masters of the past and present to elicit many different feelings in people: to shock them, to over-awe them and stimulate action, to help people think and make judgements, to delight them with subtle pleasures, to calm them or render them spellbound with subliminal visions. Historians will find here a new approach to history; and artists and designers of today, who use colour to influence, are invited to discover here a pragmatic framework for opening unexpected and powerful concepts in aesthetics that can give birth to new ways of using colour ‘archetypes’ in a myriad of new movements in the future of the visual arts.

Biography of a British artist who believes Colour should be given a greater knowledge-base in art and design education. He contacted scientists and psychologists who might influence the world of education. Psycho-aesthetics of colour led him to contact Carl Gustav Jung and Dr Margaret Lowenfeld (of Mosaic Test fame). He visited the ‘Creativity’ lab of Prof Maurice Wilkins who first visualised the DNA molecule, and was advised by the ‘artist’ eye surgeon Patrick Trevor-Roper. Pavey brought together colour and gestalt in a unique computer personality profiling device, ProMICAD, a widely used program that aims at unleashing the innate excellence, even genius in otherwise average aspirants.

Ways of discovering  potential talents, excellence and genius in ordinary people have been successfully re-searched and achieved  In 2000.  Program was developed that was described by the D/EE (the British Government Department for Education and Employment) as a test of personal effectiveness; and this was further developed during the 2012 London Olympics. The Formula is called ProMICAD, currently distributed by Prospects Education Resources

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