ColorTherapy: An Interview with Emmett Fiore

I recently called Fine Paints of Europe to consult with Emmett on a couple of points and it occurred to me that more people should be made aware of this unique service. Yes, even a “therapist” needs advice once in a while…

I sometimes get a little sick of hearing myself pontificate, so this week we’ll give my ears a break and cultivate another opinion. I’ve spoken with Emmett a number of times over the years and his advice is always sound and encouraging. This leads me to wonder about the world of a colorist and what they do.

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Readers may remember a few of my old posts on FPE, in which I’ve admired the product’s teflon finish and complexity of color. This interview was conducted over phone and internet, and I like how it evolved into a philosophy of life.

AT: What exactly is a colorist? Tell us a bit about what you do…

EF: A colorist, as pertaining to paint, is a person who uses paint color skillfully. My job involves helping Fine Paints of Europe clients with the sometimes-daunting task of choosing from our 10,000 colors to decorate their spaces. The degree of help that our clients seek varies. It may be as simple as what color they should paint their front door or a much more involved situation such as developing an entire color scheme.

What is your background, and how did you come to this as a profession?

My interest in color was nurtured at an early age by my two older brothers. They were Window Trimmers. Window Trimmers were people who decorated storefront clothing boutique display windows with merchandise in creative vignettes that appeal to shoppers. As a boy back in the sixties before the Mall displaced avenue shopping I used to help my brothers do this type of work. I can still recall waxing poetically with them about color relationships- “Wow man, that chocolate brown sweater looked dynamite with that mint green shirt”. It was this kind of color glorification that I internalized and saw as a venue to bond with others. It was a form of truth in otherwise uncertain times. It was this indoctrination more than anything that gave me the skills that I’m still using to work with color today.

Why do people call on you—to find the correct off-white? To be daring? To coordinate large projects??

People call me for two basic reasons: A) to validate their color decisions or B) to help them decide what colors to use. These two reasons are at the core of why our clients consult with me. However, I think that discussing color brings people together. It’s honest communication that’s non-threatening and most of all a lot of fun! It can be down right cathartic at times.

Do you have a signature style, or could you describe your personal taste? Or do you prefer to let a client’s style dictate the direction of a project?

Do I have a signature style? No. I try not to because this approach implies one size fits all. This would limit my ability to see colors and to see who I’m trying to help. I try to be open minded to the others needs. It’s a collaborative effort that will hopefully yield fruit.

What makes FPE so special?

Although I think there are many aspects to Fine Paints as a company that make us special for brevity’s sake I’ll focus on only two. A) We are the alternative for those seeking definitive quality (paints, colors and advice) in an otherwise ambiguous world of paint. B) Quality sets us apart. Simply put our paints look better and last longer. Thus beauty and durability are intertwined. This is a great advantage for me because I’m confident when my client sees our paint up on their walls the experience will be akin to a choir of angels singing. Hallelujah!

Any favorite projects you’d like to share with us?

I’ve been fortunate enough to consult on many projects over the years at FPE but the following set of pictures was sent to me by a gracious client with impeccable taste. And, although I collaborated on the color scheme I can take no credit for the decorating which is splendid. This client has since moved and we have just finished her new abode, which is being painted as we speak! Read about it in my up coming book.

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How do you feel about "going green?"

There’s a lot of hoopla out there concerning this issue now. We have a really wonderful brochure called “The Fog Surrounding Green” that addressing it. This can be found on our website by clicking on “Earth Friendly Coatings” on our home page. The link is found at the bottom of the page. I’d say go green when you can. It makes sense if doesn’t compromise quality or beauty.

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Do you have any parting pearls of wisdom for our AT readers?

Fill your living spaces with the colors, art, foods, aromas, objects and the people that you love and be grateful for all of it.

Emmett is available for free consultation 9am-6pm Monday through Friday.
Fine Paints of Europe: 800-332-1556

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- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter