For 20 years, he’s operated the Synesthesia List, an online forum, regularly cited by synesthesia experts and scientists.
Day started scoring music in his early teens, composing by the colors he wanted to view and finding inspiration in fellow-synesthete Duke Ellington.
They soon became friend-colleagues, and she gifted him Photographer Marcia Smilack is also known for using synesthesia as a cornerstone of her process.
As a “reflectionist” — her term of art — Smilack takes trippy pictures of the ocean’s surface the moment she has a synesthetic reaction, some of which have a Screamesque quality to them.
Still, not everything she experiences is “synesthetically wonderful.” “I assure you that if I smell something really bad,” she explained, “it’s not anything anyone would want to see.” Steen describes the reaction as an immediate physical response.
In fact, she listens to music when she goes to the art-supply store, carefully removing the paint-tube cap to see if the color matches the sound she’s But until fairly recently, synesthesia had its share of skeptics.After all, synesthetes are able to express seemingly unrelated concepts in a variety of mediums: numberssound.And unlike their colleagues, synesthetic artists — those who use their neurological trait as a foundation of their practice — respond intuitively to what Steen calls the “multimedia-like stimuli” going on around them.A person no longer has to “claim” that Wednesday is indigo blue; researchers can compare activity between her cortical areas when she sees the word to a non-synesthete’s brain scan.To take a handful of studies, there’s now a known genetic link in families, as well as a neurological basis for the most common form of synesthesia, “grapheme-color,” when numbers and letters have distinct colors.In college, however, Day realized his synesthesia was actually hurting his creativity.“I focused way too much on my synesthetic colors,” he wrote in an essay for Oxford’s Handbook of Synesthesia.For most people, a bad toothache feels like a persistent throb or a sharp pain.But without a dentist visit, there’s no way to tell whether it warrants a root canal.And in Steen’s case, much to her dentist’s surprise, she was able to diagnose a dying nerve before any clinical signs of tooth The word synesthesia means “union of the senses,” and synesthetes — roughly 4 percent of the population — are adults whose senses mingle in a sort of cross-wiring of the brain.Based on self-reporting and scientific case studies so far, there appear to be 80 varieties of these involuntary sensory perceptions.