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The Woman Who Turns Music into Art

Melissa McCracken has turned her condition to ‘hear’ colours into an incredible and unique form of art…

When your favourite piece of music comes on the radio, what do you hear? Can you make out the lyrics, or possibly recognise that sneaky A Minor chord buried in the midst of the tune? For Melissa McCracken, music takes on an altogether more colourful appearance.

The Missouri-born 26-year-old has a common form of synaesthesia, when some pathways in your brain get crossed. As a result, you can often ‘hear’ colours or ‘see’ sound.


Twenty-six year-old Melissa McCracken from Missouri is an artist with one of the more common forms of synaesthesia called ‘chromesthesia’, which causes her too automatically, and involuntarily, 'hear' colour.

McCracken has turned her condition to her advantage, however, by transforming pieces of music into unique pieces of art.

 “Funk is coloyrful, with all the different instruments, melodies, and rhythms creating a highly saturated effect,” she told VICE. “Guitars are generally golden and angled, and piano is more marbled and jerky because of the chords. I rarely paint acoustic music because it's often just one person playing guitar and singing, and I never paint country songs because they're boring muted browns."


Other notable synaesthetics include Charlie XCX, Vincent Van Gogh, Lady Gaga, Pharrell Williams – and McCracken is currently making waves in the art world for her unique way of blending tune and canvas.

If you want to know more about talents like McCracken and the artistic world, grab a subscription to Art Papers today.

Instagram images from @melissamccrack

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