Ever heard the colour of sound?

Artist Cate Hadley talks about her unusual gift for hearing colour

Artist Cate Hadley talks about her unusual gift for hearing colour

Bury St Edmunds artist Cate Hadley has an unusual gift for experiencing colour and shape through sound, so when she listens to live music her creativity flows.

A former art teacher and modern jazz fan, she only discovered her synaesthesia a few years ago, having always assumed that everyone had similar sensory crossover at live gigs.

Cate explains: “I grew up in an artistic family and have always been creative. The first time I realised I was different was when I heard a composer talking about it on Radio 3. It’s quite unusual – about 2% of people are synaesthetes – and it’s often artists or musicians who are more aware of it.”

“It doesn’t just burst into my head all the time. I have to sit quietly and concentrate on the colours and shapes that come to me while I listen. I find jazz is very inspiring because it is improvised so it is unpredictable.”

“I used to be a landscape painter but now my work is much more abstract and bold. I find working with vibrant colours very uplifting and I sometimes use textiles to get the intensity and texture I want,” said Cate, whose work has been exhibited at galleries throughout East Anglia.

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Cate will be putting her rare gift to good use as the first Artist in Residence at the apex music venue during the Bury St Edmunds Festival in May. She will be sitting in on many of the Festival’s jazz and contemporary music concerts with her sketchpad and using all her senses to interpret the sounds she hears.

Visitors to the apex will be able to watch her developing her sketches and notes into colour-abstracted works using a combination of paint and textiles. The resulting artwork will be displayed in the Festival Bar area alongside an exhibition of Cate’s past work.

Cate said: “It’s the first time they have had an Artist in Residence at the apex and the first time I have painted in public. The Festival Bar upstairs will be a lovely light space to work in and I am looking forward to talking to people about the concerts and my artwork.”

Cate will be based at the apex from Friday, May 20 to Sunday, May 29, working in the Festival Bar area from 10am each day between concerts.

For details of Festival events visit www.buryfestival.co.uk, or call 01284 758000.

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