1. What motivates you?
I’m constantly trying to perfect the way I express sound. It’s not easy trying to capture a song onto canvas; the lines shift in such a quick way that I often struggle with getting the feel of it right, or the colour, and I never feel like I can do it justice. That challenge pushes me forward, to try new things, to experiment until I find the right texture or shade, to be a little less careful when I move onto a new piece. I used to be really hard on myself for not being able to get it right the first time, but I’ve started to find an odd sort of therapy in exploring new avenues. Mistakes often lead to success in the future! And I love sharing what I see with others- I never dreamed I’d be able to show people how I hear, and getting to do that feels unbelievable.
2. What do you do for a living, and what do you love about it?
That’s a tricky one; I wish I could say that I spend all day painting in a studio, covered in paint smears, getting flecks of red and blue on my glasses, but the truth is I have a nine-to-five, Monday to Friday office job. While there isn’t necessarily a lot of room for creativity there, I love the fact that it allows to me to pursue my passions in my spare time. It’s also introduced me to a lot of amazing people, many of which have a surprising affinity for art. I don’t think I’ve gone into work one day in the last five years without someone showing me a piece they liked on Instagram, or Facebook.
3. Why are you excited to speak at TedX?
I’m thrilled that I get to share my story, and with such a phenomenal community to boot! Not a lot of people know about synesthesia and the multitude of combinations it can manifest in, so it’s always neat to introduce people to the subject. Plus, it’s amazing that I get to share something that is so near and dear to my heart- and I’m always fascinated by the types of comments and questions that people come up with in regards to Chromesthesia. The great thing about the TedX community is that you have all of these incredible individuals around you who can look at things in ways you never looked at them yourself!
4. Which TED (or TEDx) talk do you think everyone should watch?
I really, from the bottom of my heart, think everyone, if they haven’t already, should watch Shane Koyczan’s ‘”To This Day…” For the Bullied and Beautiful’. After watching Shane put what it’s like to be human into such perfect words, it makes me think differently about my every day life. I think he’s totally brilliant.
5. What is your idea worth spreading?
That Synesthesia isn’t something negative. Often, it’s referred to as a ‘condition’, or a ‘mistake’ in the brain, but that really isn’t the case. It’s a natural phenomenon, and it’s beautiful. I used to keep it to myself, never talk about it, even with my closest friends and family, but the minute I started open up about it, I realized how backwards I’d had it. We need to celebrate the things that make us unique. Each of us has something that makes us who we are, and it’s a wicked waste not to share it.
6. What is one question you have recommended more than twice?
I am a DIE HARD science fiction/fantasy nerd, and some of my all time favorite books are titles like Dune, The Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, but there’s a newcomer to the ranks that I cannot get over.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown is one of those books that blows my mind every single time I read it. It’s a series of three right now, but he’s writing more (hurray!) It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that grabbed me like that, and I’m pretty sure that I’ve recommended it to strangers in Chapters before. It’s like Hunger Games mixed with Halo, Greek mythology, 300, the very best of old school sci-fi, and some of the BEST characters I’ve ever read. I still think about them. Basically, GO READ IT. You won’t regret it!