Missouri-based artist Melissa 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.
Until the age of 15, 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.”
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.