synesthesia paintings imagine

Song: Imagine, John Lennon Source: Visual News

What would you do if the sounds you encountered every day were accompanied by an involuntary flurry of color? Or, say, a David Bowie song tasted like eggplant? For those with synesthesia, events like this can happen every minute of every day.

In most cases, the human senses operate independently from one another in separate cognitive pathways. But for roughly 2-4 percent of the population, these pathways intersect and link together two or more senses. For Missouri artist Melissa McCracken, this means that when she listens to a song, she sees color. McCracken’s series of “song portraits” brings her synesthete experiences to millions, and the results are beautiful. (Click on each song title to hear the track that inspired each painting.)

synesthesia paintings callow

Song: Callow, Airhead Source: Visual News

synesthesia paintings flip

Song: Flip, Glass Animals Source: Visual News

For McCracken, putting oil and acrylic paint to canvas is about capturing melodies and rhythms as only she can, as the possibilities of cognitive pathway overlaps mean that every person with synesthesia sees or feels different things. Some experience bodily sensations from sounds, with others even tasting words. There are at least 60 known forms of synesthesia, and its presence is approximately seven times more likely in creative types.

synesthesia paintings gravity

Song: Gravity, John Mayer Source: Visual News

synesthesia paintings seems so long

Song: Seems So Long, Stevie Wonder Source: Visual News

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind.
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