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Behr Color Explorer: Capturing the Beauty of Nature

When David Axelrod was given the chance to explore the world through the lens of color, he took it. As the first Behr Color Explorer, David was tasked with traveling the world to find inspiration for new and innovative color palettes. He captured nature’s colors in all their brilliance to show how they influence paint and home design. Following his return, The Home Depot caught up with David on an adventure of a lifetime:

Why did you apply for the opportunity to be Behr’s Color Explorer?

“I’ve always considered myself a Color Explorer, even if I never used the exact term before. I was so excited that there was a formal position that seemed designed specifically for me as an artist, adventurer, and color connoisseur. It is truly a dream job.”

Tell us about where you traveled and about any standout experiences along the way.

“It was a four-destination journey. My first stop was the farthest away from my hometown of Seattle. I ventured to St. John’s, Newfoundland, the Easternmost city in North America. Of all the destinations I visited, Newfoundland felt the most foreign. The ‘jellybean’ row-houses reflect the quirky charm of the residents. I was lucky enough to catch it on a pair of sunny days, which I gathered was a rarity. It was the perfect immersion into color. 

 On the same trip, I stopped in New York City for three days. It was an especially muggy week at the peak of summer, and although I walked as much as I could, I also used the heat as a reason to explore some of New York’s museums–The Whitney, The New Museum and The Met. Those exhibits were hugely inspiring.

In my third destination, Banff, Alberta, BEHR set me up with a helicopter flight over the Canadian Rockies. This was only five days after I got back from New York, and the drastic change of scenery only added to my awe when I was soaring past Mt. Assiniboine and over the surrounding glaciers and lakes.

My last stop was Yellowstone National Park. One day I was spotting grizzly bears, wolves, elk and bison on a private safari. The next day I was exploring the park’s surreal geothermal features. By the end of it all, I felt like a rainbow had exploded in my head.” 

Out of all the photos you posted on this journey, which is your favorite and why?

“On my first day in Banff, I woke up at 3:30 AM, drove an hour to the Moraine Lake parking lot, and set off on a 7-mile hike to a lookout point called Sentinel Pass. It was cold and windy up there, but I made it just in time to catch the first rays of sun illuminating the Valley of Ten Peaks. It wasn’t necessarily the most colorful scene I witnessed on my journey, but it was breathtaking, and even more satisfying because I had worked so hard to get the shot.”

What’s the one thing you want people to take away from your experience and photography?

“We can all be color explorers. The color is out there, waiting to be appreciated. All it takes is a shift in our attention to realize the beauty all around us.” 

Can you share your thoughts on what trends you think will be big in 2020?

“Behr is spot-on in taking paint inspiration from the natural world in 2020. I think, in addition to earth tones, sky and water tones will be popular. Gradually–and this may take more than a year–I think people will become more adventurous with color choices. We’ll transition out of the safer world of beige and grey into a more exotic color landscape. 2020 will usher in that transition with brighter, restorative colors that are soothing without being dull.”

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