It will come as no surprise that I follow lots of colourful people on Instagram. Someone who I’ve followed for years and even used some of his images in my own Instagram feed is the very creative photographer and graphic designer, Gabor Estefan, famous for his very colourful Notting Hill townhouse images. As a fan of his work, I sent him a message on Instagram to see if he wanted to join me on the Colour Couch, and I was thrilled he said yes! So over to Gabor to share his colourful story.
What is your earliest colour memory?
I loved drawing and painting when I was a kid. My drawings were always super colourful and I won several competitions with them. I took lots of inspiration from nature, especially from my grandmother’s flower garden and the wildlife. I used to live in a village in eastern Hungary in a cottage that had a huge garden with all kinds of vegetables, flowers and fruit trees. My family had several plantations too where we spent the weekends and afternoons. It was almost like living on a farm. It was always fascinating for me to watch how the colours change with the seasons. I loved the colourful tulips in Spring, the pink summer sunsets, the orange autumn leaves and the pure white snowy winter days.
What does colour mean to you?
Colour is my passion. It’s the source of my happiness, a natural mood booster and a tool to express myself. I’ve found lots of joy in creating colourful photographs and illustrations. Working with colour has entirely changed my life. I’ve met many amazing creators and found great opportunities thanks to my obsession with colourful things.
Do you have a favourite colour or a colour that you find yourself constantly drawn to? And why?
ORANGE. It reminds me of the setting sun that I’ve always loved watching. It brings back wonderful memories and fills me with energy. I also love orange because I’m a big fan of the ’70s when this colour was very popular.
Do you have a colour that you least like? And why?
RED. This is strange because it’s next to my favourite colour on the colour wheel. Red is a very aggressive and loud colour to me. I would never buy a red car or any clothes in this colour. It makes me feel very uncomfortable.
What do you love most about working with colour?
I love editing photos and drawing in Illustrator. Sometimes I edit a single photo for hours or days until I’m happy with how it looks. My editing style is all about colours, I love using pastels, bright colours and warm tones. Black and white photography is not for me. I can change any boring photo into a colourful art piece. When I’m creating an illustration, the most challenging and satisfying task is finding the right colour palette. I try to have a consistent photography and illustration style, so I use the same warm tones everywhere. The colours I mainly use are orange, off-white, cyan, pink and olive green. These colours together create a 70’s vintage look that I LOVE so much!
What do you think your life would be like without colour?
I would be very depressed and miserable. Colourful things like the flowers on my balcony, a pink house, the rainbow in the sky after rain or the sunset sky make me very happy. I can’t even imagine living in a grey world. That would be a nightmare!
Were you ever afraid or wary of colour? And what did you do to overcome this?
I would love to wear colourful clothes to express myself and show that I am a creative person, but I’m not so brave to do that. I always choose the safest colour options like navy blue, black, khaki and white. Usually, the only colourful thing on me is my socks. If I wear a colourful summer shirt, I feel like everyone is watching me on the street so there is still a lot to do to overcome this fear. Maybe I just care too much about others people’s opinions or it can be a gender thing. Men still have less freedom to wear whatever they want. Maybe not in the UK, but in my home country, Hungary for sure.
What’s your favourite colour story?
I don’t have any particular stories in mind. My whole life is a colour story. There are some crazy videos going around on social media about colour-blind people trying on special glasses and they see how the world looks in the full spectrum for the first time and they start crying. Then I realise how lucky I am to have a crystal clear vision.
Do you have a favourite colour place that you visit (or have visited)?
Notting Hill. This is my happy place in London. It has lots of colourful streets, doors and vintage cars. Here you can find the famous Portobello Market which is full of lovely vintage shops. It’s a perfect location to switch off your head and forget all your problems for a few hours. I usually come here to find inspiration and take photos for my social media channels. If you visit my Instagram page, you will see why I love this place so much.
If you could pick any colour and give it a name, what would that be?
I’ve spent lots of time experimenting with the colour orange, trying to find the perfect shade that looks not so red, not so yellow, not too bright and not too dark and it looks great on all screens as well as in printing. So far, I haven’t found it, but if I do, I will call it the Perfect Orange or Crazy Sunset Orange.
For anyone afraid of colour what would your number 1 piece of advice be?
Try to connect the colours that you are afraid of to positive emotions, things that you love or beautiful memories. Most people hate brown but I love it because it reminds me of my morning coffee, chocolate or one of my old dogs who I loved more than anything.
Which colourful person do you most admire and would love me to interview for the On the Colour Couch series?
I believe Marioly or Maria Marie, IG: @cestmaria would really enjoy this interview. I did a photo shoot once with her in Chelsea. She is one of my favourite creators here in London. She uses pastel colours, lights and shadows to create unique photographs and designs. I think she is a very talented and kind person.
Gabor really doesn’t like the colour red. Looking through his Instagram feed is testament to this. It’s nowhere to be seen. And like me, he’s also a fan of orange. Gabor is an amazing manipulator of colour, creating an almost Wes Anderson feel to his images. If you would like to discover more about Gabor, head over to his Instagram @gaborestefan.
Wishing you a colourful day,