Black and white is brilliant.

Not when it comes to interacting with people, but instead as a visual palette for art. That’s because black and white dismisses distraction. It discards the surface to explore the depths. It banishes the jewel-toned “SQUIRREL!” factor I like to call “color.”

Let me say, in no uncertain terms, that I’ve never enjoyed working with color.

I’ll grant you that as a writer, I don’t struggle with color. But when I began my work as an artist—especially during my days as a graphic designer and fine art photographer—color was a challenge. What’s interesting is that it took a second, albeit brief, immersion into digital fine art photography for me to finally toss color aside and explore the limitations of black and white. And what I found was not restrictive: it was liberating.

The contrast. The simplicity. The powerful visual effect. It was all incredibly exciting! I felt as if I’d found the true underpinning of my work; my artistic destiny, if you will. Granted, my photography days are done, but I’ve since returned to the art of drawing and my passion for the black and white palette is still there. The beauty of lines created with black pen, Sharpie marker, or charcoal pencil, all on white paper: it’s powerful, to say the least.

“A study of a coffee cup.” Materials: black pen, Sharpie marker, and white pen on paper. © 2018 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.

In some ways, the black and white palette employs the same rich, minimalist approach as haiku…which happens to be a form of poetry I started writing on a commissioned basis, over a year ago, for businesses and individuals. Like haiku, a black and white treatment says more with less; it gives every element a well-defined purpose, and it wastes nothing. Which is quite the coincidence, because I already have a less-is-more perspective on life; that connection, needless to say, was a profound realization.

Art and life, genetically intertwined. I think that’s what it means to be an artist.

black and white…”simple”
immersion in rich meaning
beauty and knowledge

© 2018 Joe Blend. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted in: Art


I observe life through steaming coffee and an energized imagination. When that's coupled with my rich background in writing, visual communication, and concept development, I become a barista of words and art. A craftsman. Someone who combines creative thought with meaningful substance, thereby allowing valuable messages to rise above the noise of our fast-paced society. Although my work employs anything from copywriting and haiku to drawing and illustration, the inspiration is always the same: curiosity and creativity, with a caffeinated kick!