How One Painter Sees Color in Music—And Turns it Into Incredible Works of Art
Painter Melissa McCracken has uncommon senses: She can see the songs she hears.
Photo: Jonathon Musgrave
On Discovering Her Talent
"I have sound-to-color synesthesia. When I hear music, I see colors, like a filter. I didn't realize I was different until high school: My cell phone was blue, and I chose a Michael Jackson ringtone that looked orange. I told my friend, 'It'll be complementary to the blue!' He was like, 'That doesn't make sense.'"
On Finding a Following
"I started painting music at 16. After graduating from college in 2013, I worked as an au pair in Germany, and my host mother posted my art on Facebook. Back home, I sold my prints on Etsy. It's now my full-time job."
Above: McCracken's oil and acrylic painting of "At Last" by Etta James.
On Sense and Sensibility
"I'm not a huge fan of country music, which is a muddy yellowish brown. I grew up listening to funk like Stevie Wonder, which conjures up particularly vivid images—probably because his songs are so emotional."
On Her Greatest Hits
"I do take requests, but most of my inventory is music I like. People have told me, 'I love your paintings, but I don't like your taste in music.' And somebody once emailed to say, 'I want to buy the print of "Gravity" by John Mayer, but I can't because I hate him.' Fair enough!"