Sound has the ability to add beauty to our lives. In fact, a number of visual artists have realized this and have made visual art inspired by soundwaves.
First, a primer on soundwaves. Sound is created by something vibrating — be it your voice or a speaker on a stereo or a car’s engine. That vibration travels through the air, creating vibrations in the air itself. Those vibrations are soundwaves. They move at the speed of sound, 768 miles per hour. When soundwaves are digitized, they tend to look something like this screenshot from the freeware audio-editing computer program called Audacity:
With that in mind, here are a few cool soundwave-inspired pieces of visual art you might enjoy:
- Anna Marinenko creates prints that incorporate soundwaves as well as reflective nature scenes. Her Etsy page shows a range of prints that usually include a water-reflective scene on one side and a digitized soundwave on the other. What is remarkable is how similar the soundwave’s silhouette is to that of the photo. The two elements come together to form one cohesive and thought-provoking piece.
- Soundwave Art is a company that specializes in canvases, prints and jewelry pieces whose primary subject is a soundwave. The cool thing about these pieces: The sound is supplied by the customer, so the wave printed or engraved on the product can be anything from a baby’s first recorded heartbeat to wedding vows to a song. More information is available at Soundwave Art’s official website.
- Soundwaves Art Foundation, while similar in name to the entry above, has a totally different mission: to raise money for charities by collaborating with famous musicians to create one-of-a-kind, signed prints of the soundwaves from their songs. Visual artist Tim Wakefield partners with musicians such as Muse, Sir Paul McCartney, The Killers, Duran Duran, Bon Jovi and Queen to extract digital waveforms from the musicians’ popular songs. He then manipulates, shapes and colors the soundwaves and creates eye-catching limited-edition prints. Sales of the prints benefit a number of charities chosen by the musicians. More information is available at this link.
- Solid Vibrations takes sound waves and combines them with one of the hottest experimental art fields today, 3D printing. As outlined here, the effort created by a Dutch artistic duo takes sound waves from a speaker underneath the 3D printer device and transfers them onto clay, making temporary sound permanent. The results vary from patterns that may evoke thoughts of wicker baskets to those that recall the scales of fish. See a short video of the process here.
- Beth Galston produced a special, functional art installation for the new Music City Center convention hall in Nashville, TN that was meant to play on the city’s status as “Music City, USA” by symbolizing waves of sound flowing along the ceiling. Her official website says the installation was inspired by a musical staff, which features five lines, as well as the undulating shapes of soundwaves. Musical “notes” were positioned along the waves in the form of LED lights.
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