Temim Fruchter is moved by warm yellows, wet emerald greens and purples so deep you have to look twice. She writes stories and essays and makes art on the edge of a forest in Washington, D.C. and lives on the Internet at http://temimfruchter.wordpress.com
What do you remember from childhood about coloring?
My mother is an art educator and loved to draw, and I would often ask her to ‘draw me a dress’ or ‘draw me a monster’ and I would color it in. There was something so satisfying about saturating those personalized expressions with color. Coloring was so sensual ‐‐ making a thick sheet of color just appear, like that, on the page. I did love coloring books ‐‐ I specifically remember realizing that it mattered how much pressure you applied to a crayon, and enjoyed making super dark streaks and super light ones.
What role does coloring (however you want to define it! choosing color, applying color, whether for art, make‐up, food) play in your life today? How would you describe your joy of coloring?
God I love day‐to‐day color. It makes me feel a deep and visceral kind of joy. I love complementary colors ‐‐ green/red and purple/yellow especially ‐‐ and seeing blocks of saturated color and satisfying color contrast out in the world. I use lipstick like a rich crayon, for sure, and also love getting dressed in the morning, which every day feels like a tiny color experiment. I consistently marvel at the way that I can feel differently depending what colors I choose to wear and put on.
Does your joy of coloring connect with aspects of your identity? How/why?
When I was a kid, I was given special permission to doodle in class. The theory was that it helped me concentrate more. I don’t think it did at all, really, but it was so important to my development in other ways. Like my imagination! Drawing and coloring helped me externalize the things I only saw in my heart and mind. More recently, I find some moments and feelings and identities hard to describe, and often turn to colors to help me evoke something unsayable. The feeling of a color, its texture, its thickness and its lightness. I’m thinking about this question now, as a queer person and as an artist, about how color can help shed light and hue and describe. I’m also thinking about how important play and joy are to my identities, and that as a grownup who only recently returned to loving crayons, I can absolutely say that it’s only helped me brighten and grow.
If someone wanted to pursue the joy of coloring, what is an exercise or activity or prompt that you would suggest from your own experiences?
I recently sat with a friend and we turned on some music and poured some wine and took out a box of crayons. That smell still kills me the way it did in elementary school! That, and those sharp waxy points. I always sort of want to bite into them. Anyway, we just sat ‐‐ talking some, but mostly quiet ‐‐ and started coloring. We drew, we scribbled, we wore down the crayons and then we colored more lightly. It felt aerobic. It felt like a release, and like a new kind of release, even though it was also so old. It exercised a different part of the heart. I think there’s something exciting and important about considering the coloring ‐‐ in and of itself ‐‐ to be an important focal activity. Not an afterthought or the thing you do while you’re on hold, but just like, The Thing You Do.
You get to name five Crayola crayons that are based on the palate and mood of the day you are having today. What do you name them?
- Anticipatory Dusk
- Sleepy Lavender
- Summer Afternoon Goldenrod
- Deep Dessert Berry
Coloring might seem to some like child’s play. Is there more to it than that? What in your mind is the benefit of coloring in the world?
Making art, using color and actually PLAYING ‐‐ I want to say ‘even as grownups’ but I might mean ‘especially as grownups’ ‐‐ is healing, therapeutic, essential. Specifically, I believe that color can viscerally (there’s that word again, I guess) tug at, draw out and connect to emotions and ways of seeing. I think yeah, people see coloring as child’s play or else as a peripheral or time‐killing activity. Whether it’s creating an intentional piece of work, coloring something in, or just scribbling with crayons, I think that creating things with color is actually pretty essential. It can exercise important parts of us, awaken important parts of us and just remind us.