BY PATRICIA DUFF,
Whidbey Art Source editor
Artist Kim Tinuviel said the first time she consciously identified color with sound, she envisioned a field of bright green, like grass, sparked by the vibrations of the open G-string on her bass. She was in a 7th grade orchestra class and she kept this news to herself.
“Later, more colors appeared for other notes, and surprisingly, the associations remained constant,” Tinuviel said.
This ability has a clinical name; it’s a neurological condition called synesthesia.
“I didn’t fixate on it or try to analyze it until many years later. In the last couple of years, the colors have become louder in my ears, as if they are singing to be painted.”
The orchestra continues to play, colors emerge.
“Inspired in part by my first career as a classical musician, my visual artwork is often in response to an early awareness of the alignment of colors with notes, chords and keys,’ the artist said.
Trained at The Julliard School, Tinuviel moved through a 30-year career as a professional classical musician to eventually tune into that other symphony in her head that has made her an award-winning fine artist.
“While creating each composition, I have listened carefully to the sounds in my head and compared those sounds with naturally occurring form, light, dimension and color,” Tinuviel said. “Images are composed in-camera and are not digitally altered (with the exception of slight color corrections and exposure adjustments to restore the original vision).”
“Helios Rising l” is an example from a series Tinuviel calls “ChromoAlchemy” in which the effects of time and weather on a surface form the foundation of the photograph, along with its singing colors.
Tinuviel said the series’ name and the titles of each piece come from ancient Greek language and culture. “ChromoAlchemy” is from chromo (color) and chumeia (to mix). Each piece is named for concepts, objects, deities and mythological figures representing or interacting with the various elements known in the ancient world, she said.
Whatever the muse, Tinuviel is creating pictures others want to “hear.”
A Whidbey Island resident of 23 years, Tinuviel found herself a hot commodity on the juried art show circuit this year, with work featured at the Pajaro Valley Arts Center in Santa Cruz, Calif., the Edmonds Art Festival, the Anacortes Arts Festival and the Coupeville Arts & Crafts Festival, where she won a blue ribbon for her piece, “Windbreak,” a large format, limited-edition photograph.
Rhythm, harmony, the lyrical qualities of music and the elements of the earth are all reflected in the layers of Tinuviel’s work.
But there are other big influences as well, including the cultures of faraway regions of the world she has seen and other artists she meets through the regular workshops she attends. Among her most important island influences, she said, are avant-garde photographer and filmmaker Sharon Shoemaker and encaustic painter Anne Smidt.
Tinuviel’s bio describes the integration of a number of factors that come together in her artwork, but ultimately, she said, her goal is to find the extraordinary within the ordinary.
Her piece “Psyche” is an example of her fascination with the effects of oxidization and decay, the endless possibilities created by those effects in regard to texture and color; a blending of science and art.
“The composition of each piece originates by photographing an everyday object, but the source may no longer be obvious,” Tinuviel said.
“Look beyond the literal object and listen for the deeper vision to fully enjoy this series.”
Tinuviel was selected to participate in the Artist Trust EDGE Program for professional artist development earlier this summer and was awarded an Artist Trust scholarship to attend the eight-day residency at Fort Worden in Port Townsend.
Work made by 12 of the artists who attended the EDGE program can be seen in a show titled “Design Presence,” open now through Oct. 12, with an artist’s reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28 at the Seattle Design Center. The Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment. Here are directions.
Although her current works reflect her penchant for exploring the intricacies of photography and encaustic, this busy artist also surfaces from the realm of alchemy to run a design business called Tinuviel Creative, where she provides marketing, design and photography services. (Her head is a talented orchestra.)
Six pieces of Tinuviel’s work can also be seen in another show titled “Adaptation” through Sept. 28 at University House Wallingford at 4400 Stone Way N in Seattle. This show is motivated by the concept of one art form responding to another in order to find new ways of expression and presents work that probes, develops, transforms and adapts previously created works or concepts into a visual medium.
Kim will sponsor a “Worldwide Photowalk” event in Langley on Saturday, Oct. 13.
Coming up, look for Tinuviel’s work at the following galleries and events:
• Oct. 6-7: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Whidbey Open Studio Tour
• November/December: “Small Pleasures Show” at Brackenwood Gallery in Langley
• December/January: Solo show at Galleria Chiropractica in Bayview
The featured image at top is “Strad,” a photoencaustic on birch panel by Kim Tinuviel.