Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.
Every day something wonderful happens to you: you can see. And not just see, but see in color. You get used to seeing, to such an extent, that you don’t even ask yourself about how many colors you can actually see. Let me tell you, so that you can sleep well tonight: up to 1 million shades!
If you find this number impressively large, you should know that there are people – usually, women – that can distinguish 100 times more shades than a normal person. They are called tetrachromats – because, instead of three, they have four types of photoreceptor cells.
Nobody knows how many tetrachromats are in the world, but they do live among us. But how come we don’t hear much about them?! Because not even they know what they are. It’s hard to tell that you are actually perceiving more shades than others around you.
One more thing: the brain doesn’t pay attention to useless things. It has the tendency to simplify all that is of no interest. No matter how many shades of colors your eyes may record, the brain won’t analyze them unless it’s necessary.
Concetta Antico is a tetrachromat. Moreover, she is a visual artist since childhood and a long-experienced Art teacher. You got it: she works with color on a daily basis! In a nutshell, she enjoys the optimal conditions of perceiving as many colors as possible. Something that is truly rare to find.
Curious to find out more, we did some talking. A discussion which, of course, shall be presented to you in the following lines…
On this page:
- 1 How can you explain your special ability?
- 2 When did you become aware that you have a special gift?
- 3 What do you think is most amazing about your vision?
- 4 Have you ever been afraid of this “superpower”?
- 5 How tiring is it for your brain to process so much information?
- 6 How many other tetrachromats do you know?
- 7 It’s difficult for a common person to imagine how a tetrachromat sees the world. But how do you imagine a common person sees the world?
- 8 Is tetrachromacy at the center of your existence or is it something you just got used to?
- 9 You are a visual artist. Is it by chance or is it related to your tetrachromacy?
- 10 What do you try to express through your art?
- 11 What is your greatest achievement?
- 12 Is there something about colors that you understand better than most people because of your tetrachromacy?
How can you explain your special ability?
To be able to see 100 million colors in the world means that everything “speaks” to me very clearly in color. There are nuances of color, like a mosaic of color in everything.
Often something will captivate me because the colors are so profound. Imagine being distracted everywhere you go, just walking down the street (and focusing on the colors in the gravel!) or being in the bathroom and looking at all the colors in the “white” tiles.
In a shopping mall, for example, there is an assault of colors for me. I can’t be there for long…
When did you become aware that you have a special gift?
It was not until about 4 years ago. I had never considered that others did not see what I did. As a fine artist, color was my world, yes, but I thought my relationship with it was normal.
Several years before that a client gave me an article on “tetrachromacy” and said “I think you are one of these”. I just laughed.
Then another client said “there is an alchemy (of color) in your work I cannot explain” and I still did not know it had to do with my gift.
Finally, my daughter was found to be color deficient. Then my collector sent me some bibliography on Tetrachromacy. I read it – it said that “a potential tetrachromat also has the potential to create a color blind female offspring” – the penny dropped and I reached out to some scientists listed in the article. One tested me – the rest is history…
What do you think is most amazing about your vision?
My tetrachromatic vision allows me to process color at a very rapid rate. I can discern color very quickly and produce it (mix paint) even faster. My color memory is incredibly accurate. I am able to produce my paintings in one sitting. Very fast and with no reworking. I think this is amazing.
Have you ever been afraid of this “superpower”?
Never – all I can get is benefit. That is why I call it my gift. It is a superpower – it makes me beyond human in this area, but I have been able to channel it in ways that have made my life extraordinary.
How tiring is it for your brain to process so much information?
Yes, tiring. That is a downfall. At the end of the day, I don’t want to see a lot of color. My eyes get tired and my brain thinks too much about color, so I need to shut it off.
Yes, it is true – I cannot look at anything without my eyes/brain needing to unravel the colors there! It is like needing to do a crossword puzzle 24/7!
How many other tetrachromats do you know?
Very recently I found out that my Sister is a tetrachromat. Other than her, I have only met one that was confirmed. I think a few other people I know may be based on the way they use color in their wardrobe or decor, but I have no proof. Tetrachromats use color very beautifully, specifically and harmoniously.
It’s difficult for a common person to imagine how a tetrachromat sees the world. But how do you imagine a common person sees the world?
I believe it is flatter. It is less interesting. Sort of meat and potatoes! And I am seeing and exotic buffet! The colors may be a bit grayer and just one color – like a shadow to them may be gray – one gray and I am seeing lilac and rose and green and purple and blue and MORE! In the shadow! They are NOT seeing that. So they are probably not even looking at the marvelous shadow!
Is tetrachromacy at the center of your existence or is it something you just got used to?
It is absolutely at the center of my world. It is an art of every action and thought I have. It is embodied in my lifestyle, my art, my work, my choices, my experiences. It is how I SEE – which is everything! I never get used to it as every object at every time of the day is so powerfully color different. I am tetrachromacy and it is me.
Yes – I am a visual artist as I have been influenced by this gift from a very early age. Color drew me to my profession. It has kept me there.
It is because of my art and my intimate use of color that my tetrachromacy is expressed or rather functioning. They are linked.
The scientists tell me if had I not been an artist since childhood, then I would not have grown my tetrachromacy to the level it is. That is what is exciting to the scientists – my art and teaching of art is what has made me highly functioning. A perfect storm for tetrachromacy.
What do you try to express through your art?
The true beauty of the world.
I see the amazing colors in everything and I wish to show them. My tetrachromay is expressed out of me via this medium. It is the way I am able to show others the true colors that DO exist on our planet.
People say my art is 3D or it vibrates with color or it is “Avatarish”, some say holographic.
I say it is the art of 100 million colors. A window to the truth of beauty and color that they cannot see otherwise. They see more color too because of my artwork.
What is your greatest achievement?
Other than my children, my school, and long career as a teacher of oil painting, inspiring over 25 thousand others to express their creativity, I would have to say my body of artwork. In a very short time I have created thousands of pieces of art. These will be my legacy to the world, the thing that will live on after I am gone.
Is there something about colors that you understand better than most people because of your tetrachromacy?
Yes, that they are complex – infinite. That they rule our emotions and choices. That they are a gift to us in this world. That they can be used in so many ways to create effects. That they are their own language. That people must learn to look more closely to see them properly.
It is color that creates most of the beauty in our world. It is true, however, that we all see color differently, but we see it significantly. That is the gift of any vision – I just was given the ultimate gift with super vision.
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