Melissa McCracken is a woman that can be considered both blessed and cursed. She grew up with a peculiar neurological condition called synesthesia that allowed her see colors where other people heard sounds. As surreal as it may sound, that is actually possible! Melissa belongs to the rare 4% of population that can see music this way. She’s also among the few people that can also paint what they see. Melissa’s form of synesthesia is called chromesthesia. This means that when listening to music colors come to Melissa involuntarily, in a spontaneous way. Here are 11 artworks inspired by various world famous songs. Can you guess the name just by looking at the picture?
Melissa didn’t realize her condition was something unusual until high school, where she took a psychology class. She thought it was completely normal to perceive music as color and confused her friends on various occasions talking about an ‘orange’ ringtone that would go so well with her blue phone.
David Bowie, “Life on Mars”
Synesthesia is not hallucinogenic and it doesn’t cloud Melissa’s vision in any way. Although it does help to visualize colors better when she closes her eyes. Other than that this condition doesn’t interfere with her sight, it works just like imagination.
Prince, “Joy in Repetition”
Melissa soon realized that people were interested in her condition and the way it manifested, so she decided to try and paint the colors she saw. It all came naturally to her as color was the easiest way to express herself. She remembered significant moments from her life and music that associated with them – and began painting!
Radiohead, “All I Need.”
The artist admits that certain genres look ‘prettier’ than others. For example, she rarely paints country songs because they are all in muted browns, whereas funk is all bright and saturated with all the instruments and fun melodies. She even sees some instruments in a certain way, like guitars tend to manifest into angled strokes of golden color and pianos are kind of jerky because of the chords.
Iron & Wine, “Boy with a Coin.”