The Pastel-Hued Digital World of Rose Pilkington

An exclusive preview of the sparkly London artist's new piece for MTV, premiering this Saturday


“Pinks, purples, turquoises, oranges—sunset colors.” Thrse are artist Rose Pilkington‘s favorites; something that’s immediately evident when you see her cool, pastel-hued graphic designs. Pilkington has had her hands full since graduating from London’s legendary Central St Martins college in July of this year. Recently, she won one of four Lowe Nova Awards for her degree work, and was also the woman behind the hypnotic video for Jamie xx’s “All Under One Roof Raving.” “Jamie is a friend and for each single he released, he wanted to get a different artist to make the video. I had quite an open brief, but the track is heavily focused around the UK underground, so the original concept was to have a Union Jack. We abstracted that idea and I came up with this idea of taking shards of the Union Jack that are breaking up and shattering,” reminisces Pilkington. “That was a really awesome project to work on.”


The video showcases Pilkington’s interest in color, but its her mind-bending GIFs that really bring the point home. Featured in her graduate show, the GIFs play tricks with the way in which the brain perceives colors: “You’re focusing on one set of colors and your eyes become accustomed to them, and then suddenly it switches to black and white so what you’re left with is an imprint of the original color, but it’s an imprint that’s almost a negative version of the color that was there before, like when you click “invert “ in Photoshop,” she explains.


Pilkington’s dissertation focused on the psychology of color, and she did a lot of heavy reading to delve into the physics behind the way our eyes perceive them—Goethe’s “Theory of Colors” was “her Bible,” as she says. The concept is deeply embedded in her work and something she can’t get away from. Far from a dry, scientific experience, Pilkington’s art is a joyful celebration of color. Some of her artworks have a web 1.0-feel, reminiscent of the early days of computer design (if much, much more sophisticated) so it’s only fitting that Pilkington’s next work is for MTV’s Young At Art. She designed a new piece to be hung in the MTV Hits meeting room in London for the project, a serene indoor swimming pool scene that looks a bit like the kind of over-the-top art you might find in a luxurious 1980’s hotel room, combined with a trippy Salvador Dali. “They asked for something colorful and poppy, which I guess sums up my own work quite well,” Pilkington concludes.

Images courtesy of the artist