I’m answering a question asked by a customer today: “I was wondering if you listen to music when you shape the silver, or just follow your drawing’s vibes? I got wondering, if there was a metaphysical and energetic influence of the music on the shape the silver takes, because of the physical sound wave of music, I am very curious to know if it might, or not. I like the idea of it, the jewel containing the essence of the music/sound because the sound shaped the jewel and the metal captured the vibrations.”
Well, I am not a physicist, acoustician or neuroscientist so I can’t tell you exactly how sound and my synaesthesia interact. What I can do is describe the effect the music has on me and my synaesthesia and how those vibrations come out in what I make.
The short answer is yes. I do listen to the music, and I do translate the visual, metaphorical and emotional effect of that music directly into the silver I am working. Given that the pieces I am working on currently are all based on the playing of one musician I listen to his playing A LOT. You’d think that familiarity would diminish the energy, it hasn’t.
I expect you may have gathered that the musician in question is the guitarist from Muse, conjurers of baroque, psychedelic, space prog. Matt Bellamy, yes I spend an inordinate amount of time with his swirling, chaotic guitar sound in my ears. I search the live performances and the bootlegs as each song is played differently every time, (thank you YouTube…) It is like living with an exquisite work of art; I hear a new facet of his playing in each listening. So, no I don’t get bored, the three-dimensionality of the visuals I get are stunning, and they are translated into the silver I work. Each piece of silver is a snippet of pure sound, a response to the spectacular synaesthetic reaction I get while I listen to that distorted guitar sound. I could extrapolate a lifetime of work from the playing of so many of the musicians I hear. One short snippet of playing could be a month’s work if I let it.
The sound waves enter my ears, pretty high-frequency ones given the pitch of an electric guitar and the aura of distortion that surrounds it. My brain perceives this stimulus as both sound, and for some reason as a thing to see, it creates a twisted, three dimensional, silvery, sweeping miracle. The I follow the elation of this and translate into solid silver shapes, shapes to wear and shapes I hope to convey some of that energy and strength that comes out of the music in those good vibrations.