Artist Statement & Portfolio

I came to this point in my life—a point where I am beginning my second career as an artist, focusing on synesthesia—over time. Making the career change from an Information Technology (IT) professional to an artist was necessary and relatively easy, as my passion for making artwork was becoming an obsession. The joy and satisfaction I get out of creating artwork is my purpose in life. My journey with synesthesia took a more circuitous path. I was in my mid-twenties when it occurred to me to say something about C and 3 being the exact same shade of green (chartreuse). My comment was met with a blank stare. This is when I first realized that other people don’t see the colors. I quickly learned to keep the obvious relationship between numbers, letters, and colors to myself. Fifteen long years later, I came across the term “synesthesia” and realized that I am not the only one who sees the colors! I have since come to love my colorful world.

I recently completed the body of work in my In Loving Color show at Franklin Park Conservatory using my synesthetic interpretation of music as inspiration, where each piece relates to a different song. I used the colors and motion of the song (as I see it in my head) to create a visual experience of the music.

Synesthesia is a benign condition of the brain that causes the addition of sensory attributes to specific, unrelated senses or concepts. Seeing music is just one of the types of synesthesia with which I am blessed. I also see letters and numbers in color, and I also see the calendar as a large track that runs counterclockwise. I have a friend who sometimes smells music—that’s another type of synesthesia. It is a condition that can take on many forms.                                

I created this body of work because I want to get people thinking about the differences in the way we experience the world. Even at a sensory level, we see, taste, or hear the world differently. It is as though our brains are making order out of the chaos around us in different ways.

I work primarily in mixed media, because I like having choices when it comes to medium. I use various combinations of alcohol ink, watercolors, pencil, acrylics, and pastels, often working in layers. I sometimes light the alcohol ink on fire, which provides texture and chaos to the piece. The addition of chaos is important to me, as it frees me from being too controlled in my work. As a result of my first career in IT, I also enjoy using technology to make art, developing interactive artwork that relates to the theme of my paintings. My digital artwork provides people with a new way to engage with art.  

-Julia Hamilton