BYU grad brings music and art together at Synesthesia art show

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Visitors wander through Ella Ballstaedt’s first Synthesia art show in June 2020. The second iteration of the show will take place Jan. 29 and 30 at the State House in Orem. (Dani Mattson)

A BYU graduate is bridging the gap between music and art by putting on her second Synesthesia art show at the end of this month.

Ella Ballstaedt was raised to be passionate about music. Some of her favorite art pieces were inspired by music, and as a BYU art history graduate, Ballstaedt wanted to combine music with art.

“I thought it would be really interesting to bring the art exhibit into that kind of concert industry,” Ballsteadt said.

Each artist in the art show was given a song as inspiration. The meaning of the song was brought to life by the artists based on personal experiences, the history of the song and the emotional connections they felt to the music.

“The fact that my art is stationary and that only one image is allowed to go with the whole entire song I feel like is very interesting,” artist Noah Jenson said. “It was a cool experiment, like what is one image that captures start to finish the whole message and emotion of the song.”

There are 22 artists whose mediums range from film photography to ceramics.

“Most of the (artists’) experiences are really intimate and personal; they put a lot of their soul into what they are creating,” Ballsteadt said.

Ballstaedt used sampled music for this show. Sampled music incorporates portions from older songs into a new song (for example, “I’ve Got A Woman” by Ray Charles and “Gold Digger” by Kanye West). One artist was given the original song and another was given the song with the sampled portion from the original. The art pieces will be displayed next to each other so attendees can see the differences in artist interpretation.

“I think that anytime you are able to take a song and put it into physical form of how you feel when you hear a song that’s pretty beautiful,” artist Willy Tribe said. “It’s an object and a song but what connects them are these feelings and these words and I feel like I was able to connect the piece.”

For a more involved experience, show-goers are encouraged to bring their own pair of headphones to the show so they can listen to the music while they look at the art. Most of the art on display will be for sale.

This will be Ballstaedt’s second Synesthesia art show following the success of her first show in June 2020. The show will be on Jan. 29 and 30 at the State House in Orem from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. both nights. Tickets can be bought at the door through Venmo.

In order to follow COVID safety guidelines, masks will be mandatory, and there will be a limit on how many people can be in the building to facilitate social distancing.

Check out the show’s Instagram page @synesthesia_perceivetogether to meet the artists and find further information and updates.

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