synesthesia in art


  • Another classical example is the use of the color organ which would project colored lights along with the musical notes, to create a synesthetic experience in the audience
    (Campen 2007, Jewanski & Sidler 2006).

  • Beside these ‘classical’ materials of making art, an even larger production of synesthesia-inspired works is noticed in the field of digital art (Campen 2007).

  • The problem of finding a mathematical system to explain the connection between music and color has both inspired and frustrated artists and scientists throughout the ages.

  • Many of his paintings and stage pieces were based upon a set and established system of correspondences between colors and the timbres of specific musical instruments.

  • A study of the art at the turn of the century reveals in the work of almost every progressive or avant-garde artist an interest in the correspondences of music and visual

  • Smilack takes pictures of reflected objects, mostly using the surface of the water, and says of her photography style: I taught myself to take pictures by shooting whenever
    I experience a synesthetic reaction to what I see: if I experience a sensation of texture, motion or taste, I take the picture.

  • [13] Art meant to evoke synesthetic associations Perhaps the most famous work which might be thought to evoke synesthesia-like experiences in a non-synesthete audience is
    the 1940 Disney film Fantasia, although it is unknown if this was intentional or not.

  • By interviewing these artists, one may get some insight into the process of painting music (cf.

  • One of the questions that the classic philosophers asked was if color (chroia, what we now call timbre) of music was a physical quality that could be quantified (Campen 2007,
    Gage 1994, Ferwerda & Struycken 2001, Jewanski 1999).

  • She most often uses her music → color synesthesia and touch → color synesthesia in creating her works of art, which often involves attempting to capture, select, and transmit
    her synesthetic experiences into her paintings.

  • Artist, Brandy Gale[8] In addition to her field work, Gale also paints live, sometimes performing her painting experience live before an audience with musical accompaniment,
    as she did at the 2013 EG Conference in Monterey, CA.

  • The phrase synesthesia in art has historically referred to a wide variety of artists’ experiments that have explored the co-operation of the senses (e.g.

  • Art by synesthetes Several contemporary visual artists have discussed their artistic process, and how synesthesia helps them in this, at length.

  • [5] Anne Patterson, a New York-based artist with a background in theatrical set design, describes the genesis of her installation of 20 miles of silk ribbons suspended from
    the vaulted ceiling arches of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, which was inspired by a cello performance of Bach: When listening to music, I see colors and shapes, either angular or circular, and get a sense of whether the piece is horizontal
    or vertical.

  • Around the turn of the century, concerts with light and musical instruments were given quite regularly.

  • Additionally, Synesthetic art may refer to either art created by synesthetes or art created to elicit synesthetic experience in the general audience.

  • It works like this: I watch the surface of the sea until I experience one of my synesthetic responses.

  • For more on artists who either were synesthetes themselves, or who attempted to create synesthesia-like mappings in their art, see the list of people with synesthesia.

  • [12] There is power, joy, and physical challenge in painting outdoors alla prima, especially for a full spectrum synesthete like Brandy [Gale], whose visions from her 5 fully-crossed
    senses are transmitted to others through the polychromatic intensity of her plein air work.

  • He was also an artist who created strange portraits from unusual objects, such as Four Seasons in One Head.

  • [1] Linda Anderson, according to NPR considered “one of the foremost living memory painters”, creates with oil crayons on fine-grain sandpaper representations of the auditory-visual
    synaesthesia she experiences during severe migraine attacks.

  • Modern artists experimented with multi-sensory perception like the simultaneous perception of movement in music and film (Von Maur 2001, Heyrman 2003).

  • These distinctions are not mutually exclusive, as, for example, art by a synesthete might also evoke synesthesia-like experiences in the viewer.

  • The Russian composer Alexander Scriabin was particularly interested in the psychological effects on the audience when they experienced sound and color simultaneously.

  • He consulted with a musician at the court of Rudolph II in Prague to create a new experiment that sought to show the colors that accompany music.

  • Color organs[edit] Main article: Color organ Inspired by Newton’s theory of music-color correspondences, the French Jesuit Louis-Bertrand Castel designed a color harpsichord
    (clavecin oculaire) with colored strips of paper which rose above the cover of the harpsichord whenever a particular key was hit (Campen 2007, Franssen 1991).

  • New artistic projects on synesthesia are appearing every year.

  • For instance, Stephen Malinowski and Lisa Turetsky from Berkeley, California wrote a software program, entitled the Music Animation Machine, that translates and shows music
    pieces in colored measures.

  • But it turns out that it is not so common, and it took the school psychologist to figure out why the letter “A” was always yellow to me, or the fresh cut grass on the way
    to school triggered a melody in my head, or why certain shapes had personalities and smells.

  • This is the first vision that I painted exactly as I saw it… — Artist Carol Steen, recalling the experience that led to the creation of Vision.

  • For synesthesia in artists before that time one has to interpret (auto)biographical information.

  • Distinctions When discussing synesthesia in art, a distinction needs to be made between two possible meanings: 1.

  • The invention of the gas light in the nineteenth century created new technical possibilities for the color organ.

  • First, the music gives me an optimistic, happy feeling and I perceive red, yellow, and orange colors in a great variety with little contrast.

  • His most famous synesthetic work, which is still performed today, is Prometheus, Poem of Fire.

  • She explains how she perceives the painting: The lively movements in the music become a stream of glowing shades of orange.


Works Cited

[‘1. Steen, C. (2001). Visions Shared: A Firsthand Look into Synesthesia and Art, Leonardo, Vol. 34, No. 3, Pages 203-208 doi:10.1162/002409401750286949
2. ^ “Linda Anderson – MOCA GA”. 2019-04-07. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved
3. ^ “Linda Anderson”. NPR. 2019-04-07. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 2021-12-27.
4. ^ Marcia Smilack Website Accessed 20 Aug 2006.
5. ^ Anne Salz Website Accessed 31 Aug 2006.
6. ^ “Synesthetic Artist Suspends
20 Miles Of Ribbon Inside Grace Cathedral”. 10 January 2014.
7. ^–brandy-gale-2/ Brandy Gale website
8. ^ “About | Brandy Gale | Brandy Gale”. Archived from the original on 2015-02-02.
9. ^
EG7 Conference, Monterey, CA
10. ^ Garden of Memory Oakland, CA
11. ^ The Stone NYC
12. ^ “Coastal Synaesthesia: Paintings and Photographs of Hawaii, Fiji and California
by Brandy Gale – Gualala Arts Center exhibit: January, 2015”. Archived from the original on 2015-02-02. Retrieved 2015-02-02.
13. ^ E.G. Conference presenter biography
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