What is Synesthesia?

The word Synesthesia means “ Joined Perception”, from the Greek
Syn= together, + Aisthesis= Perception.

This condition refers to an involuntary physical experience in which the stimulation of one sense modality reliably causes an additional perception in a different sense or senses.
This is known as a Cross-Modal Association.
This denotes the rare capacity to hear colors, taste shapes or experience other equally startling sensory blendings, whose quality seems difficult for most people to imagine.

Synesthesia is not a disorder per se, but a unique brain condition that occurs in roughly one in 250,000 individuals.
It is in fact a normal brain process that is prematurely displayed to consciousness in a minority of individuals.

The five senses yield 20 possible combinations, although some synesthetic combinations are more common than others. The yoking of sight and sound is by far the most common, touch and taste less so, and smell is the least involved of the senses. Color, Shape and Geometric shape are typical properties of the parallel sensations.

In Colored-Hearing Synesthesia, words, voices, environmental sounds or Music trigger the perception of an involuntary photism that is seen by the Synesthete just outside the body.

Psychophysical experiments, pharmacological studies and measurement of cerebral metabolism indicate that synesthesia is a left-hemisphere function. It relies on limbic brain elements more than cortex, and the hippocampus is critical for this experience to occur.

Richard E. Cytowic, MD

Synethesia No. 51

Synesthesia No.51 Earth Wind and Fire

The Artist About His Synesthetic Condition

I found out about my condition very early in life when I used to ask my siblings which colors did they see when they worked on their math homework like  the multiplication tables…for instance which color was number 5 for them…?
My argument  was for instance that the number 5 is always Blue of course.! And while associated with other numbers like 15, 35, 57 etc. they might be hues and variations of the color Blue.!

I was truly surprised to discover that others did not perceive words, numbers and sounds or music the way I did.

Family and friends always looked at me kind of puzzled and in total disbelief, they couldn’t understand that when I listened to music or when I heard a name or saw numbers, I associated all these with colors immediately.!!
These colors do not appear in my mind’s eye but outside my mind, almost as if a screen is placed a few inches outside my forehead.

When I establish the pattern, geometry or form for my paintings I see some colors associated with the patterns, but I always apply color to the  paintings while listening to music. The music dictates what the color of the painting will be.

And so, some paintings have been completed while listening to Jazz Music, some other while listening to Classical music, and some others while listening to Rock, Pop and Latin or Salsa music.

During the process of each painting, music by the same composer or even piece of music is played over and over until the piece is completed.



The Synesthetic Cube is the result of a series of ideas and motivations to blend a geometric shape seen through Synesthesia while utilizing the colors perceived by correlation to personal names.
Thus the formation of a multi-colored series of bands or other shapes that represent the liaison of a specific group of people, family and friends. In other words, a form of art that has a significantly higher meaning to the observer other than the mere pleasure of observing art for its own beauty.

Having each color representing the name of a person the placement of the color on the cube is done completely at random, or by personal selection or preference.

The cubes are made out of wood, mounted on a wood base and supported by a pivotal steel or wood rod that allows them to rotate on their axis to view the colors and shape from different angles.

The cube can be created in a large variety of sizes from a small 5” per side to an extra large 24” per side. The number of colors utilized is based on the number of names selected by the person placing the order. A recommendation for an ideal number of names will be made by the artist to balance the colors assigned per side of the cube.

Please look for additional information on George Sanen’s Synesthesia processes in the book by Dani Cavallaro “Synesthesia and the Arts” 2013

For ordering or additional information please contact:

George Sanen
664 Santana Rd.
Novato, Ca. 94945
(415) 209-9942
(415) 858-8582 m