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How I Use My Ability to See Sound to Draw Portraits of Musicians: The Portrait of a Bassist Series

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with time-lapse photography while I draw music. You will have seen my Iron Maiden drawings in my last post. This series of bassist portraits stems from my live art project with solo bass player Steve Lawson. I wanted to find a little of what happens in those live shows in my daily studio practice in a form I could readily share with you.

The dynamic and subjective nature of synaesthesia is not easily shareable. Time-lapse photography adds a whole new dimension to the work to be able to see it appear as if by magic as I sketch. Each musician has a very definite style, their way of playing has an effect on my synaesthesia, and I try to capture this as I draw. The Portrait of a Bassist Series is an ongoing project covering several players.

I was listening to the playing of Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers and Chris Wolstenholme of Muse and, focussing on the specific style of their playing. Nicky Wire’s playing has a lot of black and dark blue in it, spits and spots of green and a little purple. His intense playing is sinuous and swirling as it drives through each song. Chris Wolstenholme’s playing is very purple, some greens in the higher notes and often surrounded by the white aura of a fuzz pedal. There are more bass player portraits in the pipeline so look out on my Instagram account for new releases. Follow me @PoppyPorter or subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Chris Wolstenholme: Portrait of a Bassist
Chris Wolstenholme: Portrait of a Bassist showing deep purples and blues and white fuzz aura.