Portfolio work from the beginning of the year, done for a personal essay called Color Theory: Racial Connotations in the Visual Simplifications of Good and Evil.
The essay focuses on binary thinking and how this system of thought both reveals and instills problematic ideas in western culture, such as the trope of good and evil, which the pale figure is used as a visual emblem of Good while the dark figure is used as an emblem of Evil. This isn’t always portrayed in skin color, but the baseline connotations it carries affects people of color, affects my friends, one of whom grew up feeling ugly because of it: that the hue of a skin was correlated to an idea of good and evil, beautiful and ugly, segregated into categories deemed white and black.
This trope of good and evil, and all its visuals, has been used again and again by visual creatives because it’s established: That does not stop it from carrying a weight that falls upon a real group of people, people who are dark, and are made out visually in media to be villains. That does not stop it from forming subconscious racist connotations among a culture actively suffering from and attempting to combat racism. Good and Evil is not black and white, it is not simplicity or clarity: true good and evil is blurred, because the heart is not worn on surface, and the visualizations should reflect such.
Who did you think was the hero in that picture, the so-called good guy? And give me one reason that wasn’t based on color.
This is a call to artists and creatives everywhere: stop using this trope. We can communicate malice through others means: we don’t need to lay the weight on color.