Since doing the show "Synesthesia" at Flow in 2014, I've tuned in more closely to my own grapheme-color synesthesia, making this color wheel which orders the way I see the letters of the alphabet. Of course, I don't actually "see" letters in color literally but rather in mind's eye, where each letter has always been conceived of in a certain color. There's lots of research of late into the phenomenon of all of the forms of synesthesia, of which grapheme-color is one of the the most common forms (see the Wikipedia on it for more info). Like most synesthetes, I didn't think too much of it - just thought everyone had their own version of letter/number color associations and how they see numbers and time (like decades) in space. My husband also has it with numbers, and some of the numbers match mine - 5 is orange for example. Curious if anyone reading this has it. Anyway, until finally putting the colors for the letters down on paper, I never had paid attention to know that all my vowels were either black, grey or white. So I started thinking about using words as a point of departure for drawings. I noted the colors associated with my own name S (gold), E (black), L (white and black), I (black), N (orange), D (green), E (black) and started working with them in the drawing below which became How My Heart Spells its Human Name:
And when I say gold, I mean metallic, glinty, flakes off the page gold, as in medieval illuminations:
"Die Huldigenden Nationen" from the Gospels of Otto III
As I drew, I realized, I was making another picture of my heart , this time as an alchemical vessel, circulating and weaving energy like venous and arterial blood, and emanating it back out into space.
“How my Heart Spells its Human Name”. Oil pastel, gouache and tempera, watercolor pencil on paper. 66” x 53.5”. 2019.