Artist develops Blue Monday antidotes

Artist develops Blue Monday antidotes

- colours that make us happy often culturally linked –


An artist has created a series of pictures to ease the January blues.


To lift spirits on what is touted as the most depressing day of the year, Ukrainian contemporary artist Zoia Skoropadenko has painted a quince in yellow, a pumpkin in orange and a spider crab in red: the colours with the greatest ‘happiness’ connotations across different cultures.

To see which of Zoia’s ‘happy colour’ paintings makes you most joyful visit:

Art’s effects on mood are well documented. Semir Zeki, Professor of Neuroesthetics at University College London, proved how blood flow in the part of the brain responsible for pleasure increased significantly when people looked at a painting they liked.

Here Zoia reveals the different meanings of the colours used:


 The most visible colour of the spectrum, yellow is the colour of commerce in India, considered lucky in Thai culture and represents courage in Japan. This hue has bright, cheery connotations for many cultures due to its associations with the sun and warmth. Yellow is worn by Hindus in India to celebrate the festival of spring, and in Eastern Asia has imperial connections. On the flipside, it is also the colour associated with cowardice and betrayal for many cultures and in Germany it is yellow, and not the more commonly associated green, which represents envy. It signifies mourning for people in Egypt and Burma.


Orange is a vibrant hue, which coveys fun for many cultures. It is synonymous with the Dutch and its royalty (incidentally the Netherlands is the seventh happiest nation in the world[1]) and generally signifies happiness in many Eastern cultures, especially for the Japanese and Chinese, for whom it is also symbolic of courage. A saffron shade of orange is deemed both sacred and auspicious in Hinduism. In Western cultures it connotes all things autumnal and in particular harvest. Like yellow it is associated with warmth, which is again linked to happiness. However, in many Middle Eastern countries orange is connected with mourning.


Red is scientifically proven to increase the heart rate across all demographics (for positive and negative reasons). It is a particularly important colour in many Asian cultures where it symbolises good luck, joy, prosperity and happiness. It is associated with celebration and longevity, and so it is often the colour of choice for brides in South and East Asia. It is also symbolic of luck and good fortune in Egypt and Iran. Conversely in South Africa and the Ivory Coast red is associated with mourning.

“The mood enhancing properties of colour are well known, but it’s also noted that colour is bound in cultural connotation,” said Zoia Skoropadenko. “The three colours I’ve used in the paintings should trigger feelings of happiness across the broadest range of people.”


For further details please contact: Francesca De Franco on 0794 125 3135 or email: