Creative Synesthesia – Language of Flowers by Elma Shen


As I remember in my childhood, I can normally see an artwork and feel with synesthesia by devoting myself into the art, intoxicated at the scene that the artist created. Maybe that’s why I am in love with art, and plan art as my future career path.

Other than Mucha’s other artwork, Language of Flower have no written font, but he described the femininity perfectly by using gentle and soft vine curves instead of straight line, which can also echo the woman in the picture. I noticed that one of Mucha’s distinguishing feature is he outline everything, which makes his art looks like painting but illustration at the same time. According to the object he paints, outlines’ thickness is different as well. It is outstanding but not distracted, furthermore, this consistency makes harmonious, and become one of his signature style. The vine curves surrounding the woman, makes the focus point stop at the image of the center. The woman’s eyes direction look like she sees through the vines and edges, is watching the audience.

In my opinion, the painting presents three layers, the vines, women and the background that shows the spaciousness. I believe the background curves represent the air, which I can smell the nature in it. Like walking in the forest, having a green shower. The atmosphere full with phytoncidere, mix with fragrance of lily, fresh and calm. Every part of this artwork is slowly moved by the wind. The music that nature creates is leaves robbing, like plants are murmuring above my head. Maybe the woman listens to them attentively. Imagine the sun slightly shows up between treetop, the sunshine sprinkle on my skin. If I can live in the painting one day, it must a beautiful day.

Alphonese Mucha may not unfamiliar to most of the people. He is one of the most representative figures for Art Mouveau, mainly uses exaggerate organic shapes with high unity figures, decorative pattern, hand written font, and style. His unique style at that movement, also extending the le style Mucha, a synonym for Art Nouveau. His most popular works is doing Bernhardt’s business, including design stage, costume, poster, clothing and jewelry.

Art Nouveau was popular in late 19th and early 20th Century, has a huge impact in American and Europe that turn classicism to modernism. It started from graphic design and illustration, but also covered architecture, furniture, cloth design. The movement advocates the uses of highly procedural natural elements, features for female character, hair, flower or vine plants, the style with arabesques, was influenced by Japanese art, Ukiyo-e, use the techniques to outline the figure. Moreover, it was a reactionary of two different trends in the nineteenth century to the society. First, during the time that industrialization, technology was immature, which did not bring benefits, therefore, people are fearful of it. Second is the reaction of rebellion the Victorian style. The Victorian style only focuses on the luxury, complicated decoration to indicate hierarchy.

Other artwork that also represents the movement have:


Metro Entrance by Hector Guimard


1899Hotel Tassel by Victor Horta

Creative Synesthesia – Erin Kwon

Creative Synesthesia by Erin Kwon (3155645)

What would a graphic design sound like? Or smell like? Or taste like? Or feel like? Or move like?


Leonetto Cappiello, Maurin Quina, 1906. Poster. Color Litograph. Museum fur Gestaltung, Zurich. (Graphic Design A New History Second Edition p.63)

Maurin Quina by Leonetto Cappiello is a Japonism influenced poster / color lithograph, created for the alcoholic beverage advertisement. The poster was created in 1906, which was the period of the French Art Nouveau movement, popular from the late 19th to early 20th century. Maurin Quiana includes art elements that are translated into other senses such as:

  • The key object (bottle) -> Taste & Scent -> bitter, alcoholic
  • Color schemes -> Sound (Music) -> A silent and horrific music that surprises the audience all of a sudden (Example. a music from horror movies)
  • The drawing style& figure of the devil -> Movement -> Walking (tip toeing) suspiciously

Since the lithograph itself is an advertisement for an antique alcohol, both the taste and smell would be bitter. A bottle, held by a green devil, generally becomes the focus of the poster and the audience would be about to imagine tasting and smelling a bitter alcohol as they look into the artwork. The color tone of the poster is generally dark and dull, but the tone of yellow letters, located below, are printed bright compared to other colors. The color scheme of the poster turns a silent, but also horrific music, following with a surprising sound that stimulates the audience. Since the audience’s view towards the devil is negative, the green devil is expressed as a horrific music, covering the silence of the black background. The yellow title then turns on the surprising sound (example. trumpets or trombones played together in minimum two chords). At last, the pose of the green devil is influenced by Japonisme, since the figure itself is curved and viewed from the angle mostly seen from Eastern arts’ human figures. The green devil looks like it’s tip toeing silently, reminding a thief stealing something. Perhaps the green devil represents a choreography of walking suspiciously, following with the silent and horrific music.

Design Inspirations- Jeffrey Ling

How has historical graphic design influenced later design?

When I look at the poster of “Books”Soviet propaganda graphic design, 1924, poster by Aleksandr Rodchenko I remembered two artist’s work were inspired by him, they are Matthew Cooper and Shepard Fairey. “Books”Soviet propaganda graphic design, 1924, poster by Aleksandr Rodchenko has been inspiring  a lot of contemporary graphic designers. Franz Ferdinand (Rock band) based their album cover “You Could Have It So Much Better” on Rodchenko’s Lilya Brik poster. The designer Matthew Cooper used the same basic style of Rodchenko’s work. The women is in the same position and also he uses the same colour scheme in his design. As we can see there is a similar style and setting between each of them. When we are looking at Shepard Fairey’s design we can see there is a same element of style which is also inspired by Rodchenko’s poster “book”, his design is in a Russian constructivist style and the text is all in big block letters, it is clear and legible.



“Books” (The Advertisement Poster for the Lengiz Publishing House) (1924) by (Aleksandr Rodchenko)



Franz Ferdinand album “You Can Have It So Much Better”  by (Matthew Cooper)



“SAY YES” OBEY poster by  (Shepard Fairey)



Artlistr,”ALEKSANDR RODCHENKO – 6 INTERESTING FACTS”,April 24 2017.Artlistr,

Anna Klos,”Avant-garde inspirations – Kraftwerk, Franz Ferdinand and Laibach”,25 July 2016.Retroavangarda,

Creative Synesthesia- Almira Masangcay

“Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which the stimulation of a sense like touch or hearing leads involuntarily to the triggering of another sense like sight or taste” (Tate).

Art Nouveau is a revolutionary movement that has emerged during the 19th century. This movement seeks to escape historical styles and aimed at modernizing designs. It is committed to abolishing the traditional hierarchy of arts, such as paintings and sculptures. During this period, many artists, such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec were drawn to natural, organic and geometric forms and emphasizes line contours over colours.(“Art Nouveau Movement, Artists and Major Works” ). This characteristic was seen on his very first poster, Moulin Rouge: La Goulue.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, poster, Moulin Rouge: La Goulue, 1981, Lithograph printed in four colours. Three sheets of wove paper, (190 x 116.5 cm)
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, poster, Moulin Rouge: La Goulue, 1981, Lithograph printed in four colours. Three sheets of wove paper, (190 x 116.5 cm)

The crop composition of the poster gives the feeling that the viewer is part of this joyous event, caught up in the excitement and buzz of the place. Through the use of large-scaled, simplified forms with thick contours it evokes the feeling of thrill as if the viewer is pretty close to the stage and able to interact with the performer. With the emphasis of lines and limited hues elicit softness touch on the piece, especially the white skirt that the dancer is wearing. It gives the impression that it would feel soft and velvety when it is touch. In imagination, the use of muted colours such as green, yellow, and orange, the composition would taste bland or boring and bitter, as it is only limited to these colours. Through not having any other colours, it does not create a spark, creating an overwhelming taste, thus having an uninteresting taste.

Translating this piece to sound, it would be upbeat, happy and bright music. Also, there would be a crowd loudly cheering on the background and a walking sound in the foreground, as this piece has something going on on each of its grounds—have closure. On the piece, silhouette of people watching (background) the dancer (middle ground) is seen, while a man near  edge of the frame  (foreground) is seen walking to the left.

My Youtube video— Synesthesia as sound—


Works Cited

“Art Nouveau Movement, Artists and Major Works.” The Art Story,

“Moulin Rouge: La Goulue | Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec | 32.88.12 | Work of Art | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History,

Tate. “Synaesthesia – Art Term.” Tate,

YouTube, YouTube,

Music licensed:

Achaidh Cheide – Celtic by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (




Creative Synesthesia


Jane Avril poster was created by Latrec at Henri de Toulouse in 1893. Artist used art nouveau style to record a crazy and secret night life of Paris at that time. Avril showed her signature “cancan” action and there is an unseen musician who hold a cello’s handle with shadow.


Art nouveau was influenced by Japanese style, it focused on skewed perspective, severe cropping, flattened forms, and sinuous lines, such as curved lines on Avril’s dress. Artist used orange, yellow, black and green in this poster. There are some textures on the background and the whole effects show vintage style. It reminds me of the vintage jazz music. The colour orange and yellow were contrast with background in this poster. They were attracted my eyes and let me hear a brisk and jumping jazz music. This poster let me hear there are lots of people were dancing in the night club with brisk and jumping vintage jazz music. Curve lines remind me of a jumping movement and rhythm for them.


I made a music by myself to show how I feeling with this poster:

Creative Synesthesia- Yueyin Ni

Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge is a colour lithograph created by artist El Lissitzky during the war in Russia.“This picture represents the red and white Russians who fought in the war. The red wedge is a representation of the red army, and also the side who El Lissitzky wanted to be victorious in the war” (Utopia/Dysto

El Lissitzky, Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, 1919. Color lithograph, 191/2 *28 in (49.5 *71.4 cm). Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
El Lissitzky, Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, 1919. Color lithograph, 191/2 *28 in (49.5 *71.4 cm). Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

pia). It is a constructivism art work.

El Lissitzky divided the whole composition into half-white and half black. A huge red triangle was placed in the centre that pierces into a white circle, which creates the focal point.

Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge is a two-coloured lithograph. Although the colour palette that used was simple, I can feel the motion and movement through those simple geometric shapes. A lot of design principles is happened there such as contrast and focal point to catch the audiences’s eyes. The whole composition is dynamic appealing and full of tension. The artist demonstrated the condition of the war by using metaphors. We can definitely feel the tension of the war through those geometric abstract shapes. “El Lissitzky makes a simple, direct emotional appear to the viewer” (Eskilson 194).

As a synesthete myself, when looking at this piece of art work, I could hear a loud crack sound. Those red triangular shapes reminds me of the broken pieces of glass. The edges of the shapes make me feel sharp pain on my skin. The red colour reminds me of the smell and the taste of the blood. The black part smells like weapons made by steel which tastes cold and sweet while the white part smells like the cold air floating on the early morning battlefield before the sunrise.

Work Cited

Eskilson, Stephen John. Graphic design: a new history. second ed., Laurence           King Publishing, 2012.

“Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge.” Utopia/Dystopia, 1 Jan. 2013,                red-wedge/.

Traditional Signage: From Circus to Tattoo Shop

Astley's stages the Battle of the Alma, postcard, lithograph in black and red, mid 19th century. Museum no.S.545-1994
Philip Astley’s stages: the Battle of the Alma, postcard, lithograph in black and red, mid 19th century. Museum no.S.545-1994

Philip Astley is widely credited as opening the world’s first circus in 1782 in England. Building on his experience of equine stunts beginning around 1770, he incorporated more theatrical acts with accompanying music and designed his stages to fit the shows rather than the other way around. It wasn’t until 1795, however, that the Astley Ampitheatre officially opened after the initial structures burnt down during fire hazards.

These events are rooted in the Neoclassical era (1760-1800), though the typeface most associated with circuses became prevalent during the mid-19th century. As seen in the image above, the postcard depicts a mixture of sans serif and slab serif fonts but all are strong, bold, and meant to draw immediate attention. This genre of typeface is intentional in it’s clean design: it could be read from far away or up close, as a poster or a handbill.

"Lady Viola". Credit unknown.
“Lady Viola”. Credit unknown.

The typography that was born in this era has a direct influence on signage for tattoo shops today, specifically those that practice “traditional” style of tattooing. Traditional tattooing refers to the earliest forms of tattooing in North America and Europe. During the mid- to late 19th century, tattoos were introduced and gained notoriety in the “Freak Show” or side show segment of a circus. Both men and women who had full body sleeves of tattoos would travel as part of the circus and spectators would pay to oogle at them. The hand-painted signage used at the circuses had the same qualities as used on posters: it had to stand out.

Vintage circus signage ca. 1920.
Vintage circus signage ca. 1920.

Tattoo shops that implement this type of design into their logo, branding, or interior decoration pay homage to North America’s earliest roots to tattoo culture: the circus. The shops celebrate not only the craft of hand-painted signage, but the essence of the alternative, spectator sport that gave tattooing it’s platform and allowed it to break into the mainstream of society. Below are three contemporary examples by artist Ty Hjortland who is based in Los Angeles, California.

Ty Hjortland 1
Hand-painted sign by Ty Hjortland for Joshua Marks Tattoos, ca. 2017
Ty Hjortland 2
Hand-painted sign by Ty Hjortland for Martlet Tattoo, ca. 2017
Ty Hjortland 3
Hand-painted sign by Ty Hjortland for Martlet Tattoo, ca. 2017


Works Cited:

1. Victoria and Albert Museum. “The First Circus”.

2. “Lady Viola” – credit unknown, via pinterest.

3. “Flying Circus” –

4. Ty Hjortland –


Six-Word Summary of Renaissance Era




“The School of Athens [Raphael].” Sartle – See Art Differently, 30 Nov. 2017,


Baines, Wesley. “7 Ancient Pagan Gods We Still Love Today.” Pagan Gods | Movie Gods – Beliefnet, Beliefnet, Inc. and/or its licensors,