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Art through the Colors of Graffiti: From the Perspective of the Chromatic Structure

1
Neuroscience for Human Development, Rua Dr Homem de Melo, 697/5154, Sao Paulo 05007-001, Brazil
2
Experimental Psychology Department, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo 05508-220, Brazil
3
Centre of Physics, Gualtar Campus, University of Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2020, 20(9), 2531; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20092531
Received: 28 January 2020 / Revised: 7 April 2020 / Accepted: 19 April 2020 / Published: 29 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Color & Spectral Sensors)
Graffiti is a general term that describes inscriptions on a wall, a practice with ancient origins, ranging from simple drawings and writings to elaborate pictorial representations. Nowadays, the term graffiti commonly describes the street art dedicated to wall paintings, which raises complex questions, including sociological, legal, political and aesthetic issues. Here we examine the aesthetics of graffiti colors by quantitatively characterizing and comparing their chromatic structure to that of traditional paintings in museums and natural scenes obtained by hyperspectral imaging. Two hundred twenty-eight photos of graffiti were taken in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. The colors of graffiti were represented in a color space and characterized by several statistical parameters. We found that graffiti have chromatic structures similar to those of traditional paintings, namely their preferred colors, distribution, and balance. In particular, they have color gamuts with the same degree of elongation, revealing a tendency for combining similar colors in the same proportions. Like more traditional artists, the preferred colors are close to the yellow–blue axis of color space, suggesting that graffiti artists’ color choices also mimic those of the natural world. Even so, graffiti tend to have larger color gamuts due to the availability of a new generation of synthetic pigments, resulting in a greater freedom in color choice. A complementary analysis of graffiti from other countries supports the global generalization of these findings. By sharing their color structures with those of paintings, graffiti contribute to bringing art to the cities.
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Keywords: color aesthetics; color statistics; color calibration; cultural heritage and art; graffiti; spectral imaging; street art color aesthetics; color statistics; color calibration; cultural heritage and art; graffiti; spectral imaging; street art
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Feitosa-Santana, C.; Gaddi, C.M.; Gomes, A.E.; Nascimento, S.M.C. Art through the Colors of Graffiti: From the Perspective of the Chromatic Structure. Sensors 2020, 20, 2531.

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