This Sheffield Uni graduate is on a mission to match Pantone cards with everything

Life imitating art


As Oscar Wilde once said, "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life".

Mary Tear, an International Law graduate from the University of Sheffield, is on a one-woman mission to imitate art in her life by matching up Pantone colour-match cards with anything and everything that she sees (provided it's Instagram-worthy, of course).

Mary's Instagram project, the aptly named 'Colours of Sheffield', follows the 25-year-old on her journeys across the city (and occasionally beyond) and chronicles her colour-matching experience.

We sat down with Mary to discuss the ideas behind the project, her favourite matches and how hard it really is to get that lighting right.

Image may contain: Condo, Housing, Apartment Building, Building, City, High Rise, Town, Urban, Human, Person

How long have you been doing Colours of Sheffield, and what gave you the idea?

I started doing Colours of Sheffield in the summer of 2017. I saw some guy on Instagram doing Pantone matching in London, he used a lot of photoshop to make cool Pantone prints and I really liked his work (@Tom.Lowe on Instagram) and I decided that I could do a similar thing, but without the photoshop in Sheffield. So I bought a pack of 100 Pantone postcards and set off to photograph stuff!

Image may contain: Flower, Blossom, Flooring, Shelf, Plant, Vase, Potted Plant, Jar, Pottery, Wood, Person, Human

It seems like this account has given you a great opportunity to explore the hidden nooks and crannies of Sheffield – where's the best place you've been?

It has absolutely given me a chance to find hidden nooks in Sheffield. It's actually made me fall in love with the city even more so, and it's made me look for the beauty in things that I wouldn't normally notice, like the front of a shop or a coffee mug. Whenever I walk somewhere I'm always spotting colours and thinking about whether I could match them.

Some of my favourite places that I have discovered in Sheffield have been The Holly Hagg alpaca farm, the treehouse board game cafe, Fired Arts pottery painting, Dana vegetarian cafe in Crookes, the birdhouse tea bar. Although, my favourite area is definitely Crookes, as I love to explore all of the charity shops and cafes.

Having a local Instagram account has also made me feel really part of the Sheffield community. Lots of local people comment on my photos and say how much they love the idea, and it's meant that I've found a lot of local independent businesses and places that I might not have without the account.

Image may contain: Pants, Poster, Advertisement, Shop, Apparel, Clothing, Person, Human

How long does it usually take you to find a match?

Sometimes it takes me just a few minutes to find a match, and other times I stand there for ages trying to find the best one. It's difficult because depending on where you hold the camera, the colour can look a lot different. Sometimes I'm there for ages trying to find a match but I just don't have the right colour.

Image may contain: Countryside, Housing, Building, Nature, Outdoors, Mailbox, Letterbox, Person, Human

What's the best colour match you've found in Sheffield?

My favourite match in Sheffield is probably the Vulgar vintage shop because I literally pulled the 'Candy Pink' card out and it was an instant match, and I love the bright bubblegum colour. I also really liked the Park Hill one as it's such a cool building and I was there for quite a while and a few people walked past and asked me what I was up to.

Colours of Sheffield can be found on Instagram at @coloursofsheffield