Friday, June 19, 2009

Bjork: Bachelorette

Bjork: Bachelorette. 1999. Oil on Canvas. 14"x30".
This is the first piece I painted with a synaesthesia motif, a phenomenon where music and text are assigned inherent colors. The condition exists for a small number of people, which I learned during my research on a paper in college. In making the Bjork painting, I would close my eyes, listen to her song again and again, and create shapes that represented each part of the song. After that, I would assign each shape a color that best represented the sound to me. The final piece is a straightforward portrait of the Icelandic singer Bjork surrounded by swirling colored shapes that each represent an instrument or sound effect in the song. Here is the key to each shape:

light blue line: vocals
orange lines: violins
green shapes: "scratchy" sound effect
red line: piano
purple shapes: bass
maroon dots: jingle bell

The shapes along the "song stream" were placed with respect to when they actually are heard during the song's timeline. It is my goal to do a series of paintings using this concept, through the lenses of different artists and songs.

I didn't have an easel or worktable in my college dorm, so I had to put the canvas on my bunkbed and paint it while standing. It makes me appreciate my current drafting table all the more.

To hear the song, click the link below. Try isolating each layer of sound in your mind as you listen, and see what shape and color appears for you:

Bachelorette (Family Tree Version) - Bjork

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