Melissa McCracken. Painting Music With Acrylics And Oil

The Great Big Story pleased me with a great video about another artist who puts sounds and music on canvases. Melissa McCracken, a synesthete, can see sounds in color.

Synesthesia is a neurologically-based condition when people involuntarily link one sensory percept to another. Four percent of the population, when seeing number five, also see color red, or hear a C-sharp when seeing blue, or even associate orange with Tuesdays. And among artists, the number goes to 20-25 percent! (Psychology Today)

Here is what Melissa McCracken wrote in her bio on Facebook page:

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.”


Want some examples? Here you go.

Two of Us on the Run – Melissa McCracken

The Color In Anything – Melissa McCracken