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They soon became friend-colleagues, and she gifted him Photographer Marcia Smilack is also known for using synesthesia as a cornerstone of her process.
“I was ignoring what I was learning about balancing orchestration,” Day explained, “and my music sometimes was ludicrous, like mandolins and So, by his mid-30s, when writing music, Day started either ignoring his synesthesia completely or, if the piece called for a solo, focusing only on that one color or texture, without trying to combine instruments.
Synesthesia does not make you a better artist, he said (emphatically and multiple times).
And Smilack appreciates the comparison, feeling an uncanny connection to Edvard Munch, and the “sound waves” she sees in his famous, distorted images.
(Incidentally, Berman thinks Munch might’ve been a synesthete too.) “I think of my work as painting by camera,” Smilack explained.
In fact, a growing body of evidence shows synesthesia is more common among creative types and that some of the most imaginative minds — Hockney, Kandinsky, Nabokov — were indeed synesthetic.
According to those who study the condition, cross-sensory experiences may offer a particular artistic advantage: a greater aesthetic sensitivity than the rest of us, and thus a greater likelihood to gravitate toward artistic fields.An “ordinary” painter either captures a landscape before her or something she imagines.A synesthetic one paints what she actually visualizes when hearing a specific concerto — or as Steen explained, what she sees when she feels the jab of a tetanus is what she perceived when her acupuncturist removed the needles at the end of a session.Still, not everything she experiences is “synesthetically wonderful.” “I assure you that if I smell something really bad,” she explained, “it’s not anything anyone would want to see.” Steen describes the reaction as an immediate physical response.In fact, she listens to music when she goes to the art-supply store, carefully removing the paint-tube cap to see if the color matches the sound she’s But until fairly recently, synesthesia had its share of skeptics.In college, however, Day realized his synesthesia was actually hurting his creativity.“I focused way too much on my synesthetic colors,” he wrote in an essay for Oxford’s Handbook of Synesthesia.In 1980, according to George Washington University neurologist Dr.Since then, the science of synesthesia has come a long way, thanks to neuroimaging and the ability to connect somebody’s sense of the reality of the world to her brain’s architecture.A person no longer has to “claim” that Wednesday is indigo blue; researchers can compare activity between her cortical areas when she sees the word to a non-synesthete’s brain scan.To take a handful of studies, there’s now a known genetic link in families, as well as a neurological basis for the most common form of synesthesia, “grapheme-color,” when numbers and letters have distinct colors.