(Art) The Color of Music

abstract painting inspired by David Bowie's Life on Mars?
Melissa Mccracken - David Bowie Life in Mars
David Bowie – Life on Mars?

Until the age of 15, Missouri artist Melissa McCracken thought that everyone lived in the same hue-rich, dynamic realm of color that she had known since birth. “Basically, my brain is cross-wired,” she explains regarding her synesthesia. “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.”

McCracken paints music. As a synesthete, the sounds that she hears every day—whether it’s someone’s name or a song on the radio—are translated into vibrant, beautiful colors that carry the cadence of melodies. McCracken’s vivid paintings stem from her desire to capture her daily experiences so that others can understand the brilliant, saturated world she inhabits.

Her oil and acrylic paintings express snippets of the dizzyingly spectacular sights she sees and hears each day. Inspired by certain songs, the works of art burst with texture and splashes of polychromatic delight. To get a better sense of what the artist experienced as she created each painting, click the song title beneath each image to listen to the music that inspired such gorgeous works. [Jenny Zhang/My Modern Met]

Cover image: David Bowie – Life on Mars?

Melissa Mccracken - John Lennon Imagine
John Lennon – Imagine
Melissa Mccracken - Led Zeppelin – Since I’ve Been Loving You
Led Zeppelin – Since I’ve Been Loving You
Melissa Mccracken - John Mayer – Gravity
John Mayer – Gravity
Melissa Mccracken - Prince – Joy in Repetition
Prince – Joy in Repetition
Melissa Mccracken - Radiohead – Karma Police
Radiohead – Karma Police
Melissa Mccracken - Smashing Pumpkins Tonight Tonight
Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight
Melissa Mccracken - Jimi Hendrix Little Wing
Jimi Hendrix – Little Wing