What it's like to see 100 times the colors you see

New York Magazine interviewed Concetta Antico, the artist who is a tetrachromat, meaning a genetic difference in her eyes enables her to see approximately 100 times more colors than an average person.

I see colors in other colors. For example, I’m looking at some light right now that’s peeking through the door in my house. Other people might just see white light, but I see orange and yellow and pink and green and some magenta and a little bit of blue. So white is not white; white is all varieties of white. You know when you look at a pantone and you see all the whites separated out? It’s like that for me, but they are more intense. I see all those whites in white but I resolve all these colors in the white, so it’s almost like a mosaic. They are all next to each other but connected. As I look at it, I can differentiate different colors. I could never say that’s just a white door, instead I see blue, white, yellow-blue, gray.

Can you describe how something very familiar to everyone with ordinary color perception looks to you?

Let’s take mowed grass. Someone who doesn’t have this genetic variation might see bright green, maybe lights or darks in it. I see pinks, reds, oranges, gold in the blades and the tips, and gray-blues and violets and dark greens, browns and emeralds and viridians, limes and many more colors — hundreds of other colors in grass. It’s fascinating and mesmerizing.

"What It’s Like To See 100 Million Colors"

Above, Antico's painting "Rainbow Gully, Mission Hills, SD." See more of her work at concettaantico.com.

Previously: Woman sees 100 times more colors than you