Fantasmas: Is Clear a Real Color?

Image Credit: Atsushi Nishijima/HBO

In HBO’s ‘Fantasmas,’ writer-director-actor Julio Torres paints a world unhindered by the constraints of normality. Set in an alternate version of New York, it follows an alternate version of Julio as he goes about his job of being “Julio” while trying to find the golden oyster earring he lost at a club. In an early scene, he walks into Crayola’s office and pitches the idea for a new color. He describes it as “clear” and proposes that the crayon should be named “fantasmas” (meaning ghosts). A lot of things moving forward are easily in the territory of weird and surreal, but the question of the color “clear” still lingers, especially when it is reiterated in the show. Is it even real?

Julio Torres Has an Affinity for the Color Clear

Technically, no color can be classified as clear. In the show, Julio describes clear as the color of empty space between people and things. He classifies it as a color that will represent the normality of being different and tries to make a strong case for its crayon while the executives of the company are still trying to visualize what the crayon would look like. While such a crayon may exist in the world of ‘Fantasmas,’ it wouldn’t be in the real world (for now at least).

Image Credit: Monica Lek/HBO

Even if clear (as a color) doesn’t exist for the world, it doesn’t deter real-life Julio Torres from still counting it as a color. In fact, Torres has termed clear as one of his favorite colors in several interviews. (He also called “shiny” his favorite color at one point.) Much like his character in the show, Torres sees shapes and colors uniquely and believes each tells a different story. His first stand-up special for HBO was ‘My Favourite Shapes,’ he sat in front of a conveyor belt as all sorts of shapes rolled up in front of him, and through them came the jokes and anecdotes that define the special. In an interview, he mentioned that he likes round and squiggle shoes better than pointed shapes and straight lines.

Elaborating about his preference for clear (which he called “the avocado of colors”), he explained that he gravitated more towards muted palettes. Comparing it to “sort of the way you make a gallery or museum white,” he revealed that a clear palette helped him present his narrative in a more honest light. However, that was a few years ago, and since then, Torres has moved on to liking other colors. After his “clear bubble” burst, he liked orange (which probably explains Julio’s orange hair in the show). Whatever his preference may be now, seeing clear as a color and trying to turn it into a crayon is something that Torres couldn’t help but include in his show, which is all about seeing things in a different light.

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