What does this look like to you?
Just letters and words, right?
But for a small percentage of the population, those with a condition known as synesthesia, it's exploding with colors and shapes.
Neurons in the brains of folks with this condition fire differently due to certain stimuli. Letters and numbers are often associated with certain colors, and sounds can conjure images of certain shapes. Some can even "taste" words just by sight.
Melissa McCracken is a Missouri-based artist with synesthesia, so she experiences this phenomenon first hand. In school, her math problems would light up with color and she could even sense if a problem was wrong based on how the colors looked to her.
In addition to how this affects how she does math, McCracken also sees vibrant colors and striking shapes when listening to music. She now shares her gift of extended vision with the world by painting what she sees when she hears certain songs.
She explained that the shapes and colors exist in her mind's eye and are not something that interferes with her actual vision. When watching a movie that already provides visual stimulation, the colors in her head are muted.
"[My] form of synesthesia is more oriented toward timbre. So the tone is more important than the instrument itself," McCracken explained in an email to A Plus. "For example, an original song can look one way, while a cover of it or a live acoustic set can look completely different."
Check out these samples of McCracken's work and be sure to click the link beneath each image to see how you can purchase a print of these amazing pieces of art from her Etsy store.
"Callow" by Airhead
"Life on Mars?" by David Bowie
"Flip" by Glass Animals
"Little Wing" by Jimi Hendrix
"Imagine" by John Lennon
"Gravity" by John Mayer
"Joy In Repitition" by Prince
"Karma Police" by Radiohead
"Lucky" by Radiohead
"Tonight, Tonight" by Smashing Pumpkins
"Inderlude II" by Soulive
"Since I've Been Loving You" by Led Zepplin
All images are the property of Melissa McCracken and have been used with permission.