Visible Music

Recently, I was introduced to the art of Melissa S. McCracken, and what a fascinating discovery that was! McCracken has what’s called “synesthesia,” where a person’s senses are connected in unusual ways. As McCracken puts it on her website:

I paint music.
Until I was 15, I thought everyone constantly saw colors. Colors in books, colors in math formulas, colors at concerts. But when I finally asked my brother which color the letter C was (canary yellow, by the way) I realized my mind wasn’t quite as normal as I had thought.
 Basically, my brain is cross-wired. I experience the “wrong” sensation to certain stimuli. Each letter and number is colored and the days of the year circle around my body as if they had a set point in space. But the most wonderful “brain malfunction” of all is seeing the music I hear. It flows in a mixture of hues, textures, and movements, shifting as if it were a vital and intentional element of each song. Having synesthesia isn’t distracting or disorienting. It adds a unique vibrance to the world I experience.

Thanks to this brain difference, McCracken now paints the music she sees so the rest of us can share a little piece of her world.

Here’s “Interlude II” by Soulive (click to expand the picture):

(The second interlude begins around 0:50.)

And here’s “Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix (click to expand the picture):

Her other paintings of music can be found on her website, which I’ve linked above. I highly recommend checking it out!


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