Hello artist, my old friend… Students make paintings from music

Jennifer Hoschouer, a graphic design major, works on her piece called “Beautiful Day.”

By Steven Osburn, staff reporter

Amarillo College students have created abstract paintings based on music for an event called the Synesthesia Art Show. A reception for the show will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 7, in the Common Lobby Art Gallery. 

“Synesthesia is a sensory crossing over,” Steve Cost, an AC art professor, said. These paintings aim to show how a piece of music sounds or feels to the artist.  Cost said that the students had complete freedom in their choice of music.  One student decided to use a thunderstorm this year and, during a previous semester, a deaf student participated using smell.

Jalen Wallace, a graphic design major, said he enjoyed the project.  He used “Stronger than I Was” by Eminem.  Wallace described the song as a message to Eminem’s ex-wife and said that the music and painting “work great as a combination.”  

Dee Blake, a fine arts major, used “The Bird and The Worm” by The Used.  “It describes schizophrenia and someone with a paranoid mind,” Blake said. Her work shows brighter colors being overtaken by darker colors, which she described as mental illness taking over.  Blake called the project “freeing.” 

 “It makes me feel really good and I’m proud of it,” she said.

Cost used the 1940 Disney film “Fantasia” to show the students an example of how music can be represented visually.  Cost also showed another painting called Fire at the Sauerkraut Factory, which he said was based on a real event that happened in Germany and the artist used the smell and heat to create the image. “I show a lot of examples to them to let them know it’s OK,” he said.

The opening reception for the show will feature both art and music. “We’ll have the paintings on the walls,” Cost said. “There will be cards next to each painting on the wall, a little bit written about what the inspiration was, of course the student’s name and we’ll be playing the music that they had selected for their painting.”  

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