Life of a Craphead: Life of a Craphead Colour: #4a4154

Other Colours Life of a Craphead: Life of a Craphead Colour: #4a4154


To create the Life of a Craphead Colour we have combined three key colours from the stories below and added a gloss on top.

1. During a magic show, when I was eight or nine years old, a white boy sitting next to me kept digging his fingernails into my arm, demanding, “Are you Chinese???” I didn’t know what to do so I kept answering, “Well... I may be...” while he stared me right in the face with his blue eyes.

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Cool Blue

2. A few years ago we lost our grey cat and I was putting up Missing Cat posters. My friendly white neighbour with long blonde hair joined me and joked that “it was probably eaten by Chinese people.” Incidentally, I’m Chinese, so I take her advice to have meant, not to worry, I probably just ate my own cat.

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Cream Gold

3. My white boss made an offhand comment about “killing off an entire race” at which I flinched. (She was explaining an idiom in her European language.) The next day I found a very big purple Lindt chocolate bar from her waiting for me at my desk. I thought it was a nice gift acknowledging my overtime hours on a recent major project, but it wasn’t. When I thanked her, she blushed and said, “I know sometimes I say offensive things.”

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Coral Blush

Other Colours

Other Colours was conceived in response to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s True Colours, a program that offers grants to incentivize homeowners to restore heritage homes to their ‘true’ Victorian, Edwardian and War Time era (1880–1930) colours, with paint swatches such as “Oxford Bluff” and “Edwardian Pewter”. Canada’s colonial history is a violent history that must be questioned, not ceremoniously replicated. The True Colours program has been deployed largely in support of the gentrification of inner city neighbourhoods, particularly those with a history of immigrant struggle where homes were painted colours that represented diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences of the city. 221A led a Research Initiative with 10 contributors who were asked to provide a swatch for an “Other Colours palette” that would offer alternatives to the True Colours program based on the contributors’ lived experience, cultural traditions and artistic practices. Each Other Colours palette selection is detailed by the contributor with an original text or artwork. This collection of short prose, poetry and social history, printed by Brick Press as an Artist’s Book, offers a more pluralistic account of the city’s built environment and identity.