Artist Inspiration : Melissa McCracken

Artist with synesthesia paints music on canvas. I came across the vibrant abstracts of Melissa McCracken on an article in My Modern Met that appeared on my Pinterest feed. Having heard of synesthesia before during my University days studying Music, I was curious to find out more.

People with the rare condition called Synesthesia can not only hear Colour, they can also feel and even taste them. Words, numbers, even feelings have colour. Music to a synesthete or a person with synesthesia, appears as moving swirls of colour splashes. It’s hard to imagine, and it must be very confusing for some people who have the condition. Or maybe not, I can’t tell because I don’t have the condition and can’t put myself into the shoes of those who do. I don’t see it as a disability, just like I don’t consider dyslexia a disability either…it’s just the way some people’s brains are wired. It’s what makes us all unique as human beings.

Melissa McCracken has taken her condition to a higher level, and paints colourful, bright abstracts on canvas. Her paint splashes, runs, drips, etc literally burst off the page.

 Here’s the link to Melissa’s website, and below is an excerpt from her front page, where she explains her condition and how it affects her:

“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.”

To fully appreciate how Melissa’s Art ties in with the Music she hears, start with her website, where you can click on the “Listen” button next to each piece, to perhaps “hear” the colours.

But here are some of my favourite Melissa McCracken artworks, which I admire for their energy and vibrancy.













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