Hue-man reaction: Students participate in focus group with artist Meg Cranston


Photo credit: Celeste Ramirez

Students observe different hues of color on canvas by artist Meg Cranston. The girls talked with Cranston about which colored canvas they most strongly responded to.

This afternoon, artist Meg Cranston held a focus group during X-block in the Eastern Star Gallery. Students discussed their reactions to the various colors included in Cranston’s pieces, which debuted last week in the gallery as an exhibition entitled “Hue Saturation Value.”

Born in Baldwin, New York, Cranston is currently living and working in Los Angeles. Her art has been showcased at numerous LA galleries, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles and the Hammer Museum, in addition to the Venice Biennale. The young artist has also received awards such as the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and Architectural Foundation of American Art in Public Places Award. Cranston now serves as the Chair of Fine Arts at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.

Today’s session was one stage of a two-part initiative led by Cranston and the Eastern Star Gallery Board to get student input on various colors. At the formal opening, students voted on which colors they preferred. The focus group was designed to provide Cranston with a more in-depth look at how girls responded to the various swatches.

“I’m interested in color as it is programmed, so to speak — culturally, politically, industrially,” Cranston said. “I am particularly interested in how it’s programmed industrially and how [colors], in a way, dictate what we like.”

Four girls attended the focus group, including eighth grader Karen Garcia.

“I was really interested to see how the colors could display emotions and how colors can coordinate with that emotion we feel,” Garcia said.

Girls in both middle school and upper school participated. Ninth grader Amalea Brown called the group “calming.”

“I was interested in this entire work of art,” Brown said. “It was really pretty and I wanted to learn more about it.”

Using the feedback from today’s focus group and Friday’s voting, Cranston will create a painting with the colors that students liked best.

“I’m hoping Archer will come up with a different [color] program which affects the consumers, particularly young women,” Cranston said.

The “Hue Saturation Value” exhibition runs until Dec. 21 at the Eastern Star Gallery.