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How famous artists like Vincent van Gogh are inspiring new hair colors

Meagan Morris is an entertainment and lifestyle journalist living in New York City. In addition to SheKnows, Morris contributes to many publications including The New York Times, Yahoo! News, PopEater, NBC New York and Spinner. Follow he...

Stylist creates hair colors by using classic paintings as inspiration

If you think about it, hair stylists really are modern-day artists. The things these talented women and men can do with hair and color is nothing short of a work of art.

But one Kansas-based colorist is taking her art to a new level by using art from famous painters of the past to inspire hair color for her clients. Ursula Goff posts photos of her handiwork inspired by pieces like Edvard Munch's "The Scream" and Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night," along with a mini history lesson about the artists, the paintings and why it's inspirational to her.

Fine Art Series: I am sharing Van Gogh's "Starry Night" again for those who missed it, and also because I didn't originally publish any background on it. This is only one piece of a rather large body of work completed the last two years of Van Gogh's life, and Van Gogh himself was not impressed with it, never having any inkling that it would go on to become one of the most recognized pieces of art in Western history. He began it shortly after being admitted to the St. Rémy de Provence asylum, and it's largely composed of the view from his room, with the addition of a fictional village. Earlier in life, he had been very religious and had set out to become a pastor, but could never pass his exams and he struggled with his mental health continuously. He later abandoned religion, but still seemed to be searching for meaning and purpose, speculating that "hope is in the stars" - referencing the desire to experience an afterlife, perhaps in the stars or in another dimension. This desire stemmed from the fact that he had never been particularly happy, and suffered from depression, hallucinations, delusions, psychotic breaks, and a general inability to function, often trying to live and work on his own, but always failing, which would result in admittance to an asylum or going back to live with family or friends. He ultimately took his own life at age 37, dying from a self-inflicted gunshot wound that became infected. It could be argued that Van Gogh's mental illness fueled his creativity and made him a great artist, but even if that's true, his story is heartbreaking. It's hard for me to gauge if his enormous contributions to art were worth all the suffering this poor man endured. It's commonly believed, however, that suffering and art go hand in hand. What do you think? #art #fineart #vangogh #starrynight #starrynighthair #bluehair #yellowhair #postimpressionism #modernsalon #behindthechair

A photo posted by Ursula Goff (@uggoff) on

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"I often get asked where I went to hair school, and what sort of cosmetology education background I have," she wrote on the photo of the Munch-inspired hair color. "The answer is probably disappointing for most people — I went to a community college Cosmo program and have almost no other training outside of that."

I often get asked where I went to hair school, and what sort of cosmetology education background I have. The answer is probably disappointing for most people - I went to a community college Cosmo program and have almost no other training outside of that. However, I have done art since I was 5, first developing hand skills as a sketcher, and then expanding those skills into color by working with acrylics, tempera, and especially water colors. I tend to color hair much the same way I color a canvas, using the same sorts of color application techniques and identical color theory. So in honor of my art background being so useful, I thought I'd do a Fine Art series, similar in concept to the Starry Night/hair presentation I recently did. Today, I'm sharing the work of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. His work tends to fall under the Symbolism category, and this is his most well known painting, "The Scream", which has a bit of an unusual color palette, which I think contributes to the emotional discord of the image. I tend to very strongly agree with Munch's art philosophy: "I do not believe in the art which is not the compulsive result of Man's urge to open his heart." Many things I make simply because they are pretty, but my favorite pieces force themselves out of me in surges of emotional energy. Without art, I think I'd be far more dysfunctional, as I would struggle to express myself in other ways. @asset35 #painting #symbolism #edvardmunch #thescream #rainbowhair #mermaidhair #unicornhair #orangehair #bluehair #joico #specialeffects #pravana #behindthechair

A photo posted by Ursula Goff (@uggoff) on

But she has been an artist since she was 5, first as a sketch artist and eventually with different types of paint. Going from canvas to hair is a natural progression, she says, using "the same sorts of color application techniques and identical color theory."

Fine Art series: The Kiss, by Austrian Symbolist Gustav Klimt. Perhaps one of my favorite paintings, this work is characteristic of Klimt's gold period, where he did many paintings adorned with gold leaf and warm tones. Klimt's artistic career is a great example of failure being followed by immense success. More than a decade before this painting was done, Klimt received a serious blow to his artistic reputation. He had been commissioned to make three paintings for the University of Vienna. He spent several years on them, but they were not only rejected by the university, but also very heavily criticized for being "pornographic". (Check them out to see for yourself - they are titled "Philosophy", "Medicine", and "Jurisprudence", and were ultimately destroyed by Nazis during WWII. I happen to think they are quite beautiful, and visually interesting, and think it is shameful they were rejected.) Soon after, Klimt spent some time in Italy, which exposed him to Byzantine mosaics that likely heavily influenced his use of gold leaf in future works. This style is what ultimately gave him critical praise which then allowed him to become highly selective about the commissions he took, leading to a very financially comfortable life. His work now fetches some of the highest prices in the art world. I like this story because it highlights that success is often a long road, occasionally punctuated by enormous failure or loss. If you are looking to achieve anything, on any level, then it seems that the absolute best strategy is to simply persist. Keep going. Keep trying. Do you agree? When you look back on your life, do you feel that your failures were necessary stops on the way? #art #painting #klimt #gustavklimt #thekiss #gold #goldleaf #yellowhair #goldhair #symbolism #failure #success #behindthechair #modernsalon #fashionablygeek

A photo posted by Ursula Goff (@uggoff) on

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The pieces she uses as inspiration are ones that "force themselves out of me in surges of emotional energy. "Without art, I think I'd be far more dysfunctional, as I would struggle to express myself in other ways," she said.

Next in the Fine Art series is Girl With a Pearl Earring, by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. What is interesting about this color palette, along with many other Vermeer works, is his almost grandiose use of the blue tone (probably ultramarine), which was unusual at the time for artists, as it was a VERY expensive pigment, and Vermeer was not known to have made a lot of money in his lifetime. This pop of color against the warmer brown tones of the rest of the canvas give the painting a sense of newness, contrasted with the duller tones of most other paintings in the 17th century. It's also an excellent study in light and shadow, which Vermeer had an uncanny ability to recreate (it's been suggested that he may have had some help on that with camera obscuras or similar optics). If you want to see some of the earliest works of photorealism, look into some more of Vermeer's work, particularly "The Art of Painting" and "The Astronomer". #art #painting #vermeer #johannesvermeer #dutch #mermaidhair #unicornhair #rainbowhair #specialeffects #redken #redkenshades #behindthechair #modernsalon @bestcupcakemum

A photo posted by Ursula Goff (@uggoff) on

And we're thankful for her self-expression, because it inspires us with her masterful color skills. We can't wait to see what famous artist she's inspired by next.

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