Creativity is not an ever-flowing river of ideas and inspiration. As an undergraduate art student at Texas Women’s University in Denton, Texas, Lynette Sykora, 22, began each painting assignment with an empty canvas devoid of color, texture and a story to tell. When challenged to create a collection of four, relatively large oil paintings, however, she was confident that her creativity would not be stifled by artist’s block — not this time.

Synesthesia: Cross-wired for Creativity

Why the creative confidence? In 2017, Lynette had been diagnosed with synesthesia, a neurological condition that affects approximately 13 million Americans. When stimulated by sound, her sensory “hearing” pathway leads to the involuntary stimulation of her sensory “vision” pathway. Lynette hears music and simultaneously sees the sound as colors and texture.

Priming the Pump with Music and Images

It takes time to prime the pump of creativity and stimulate the sensory pathways of a synesthete. It takes the random combination of music and images. 

“My father heads a software production studio in Dallas,” Lynette explains. “I told him what I needed and he asked a few questions.” Using FileMaker Pro 17, the Magic Shake Machine was ready in only a day. More importantly, it worked.

Music, Images and Aspect Ratios

The Magic Shake Machine selects random and uneditable recipes from libraries of music, images and aspect ratios.  Each unique combination would invade Lynette’s sensory pathways. The inspirational recipe for Lynette’s “Balloon Industry” included Chopin’s “Nocturne in E- flat Major, OP. 9 NO.2”, images of a cliff, whales and balloons, and a 1 x 6 aspect ratio. The rest was magic.