Imagine you could see the colour of your own heartbeat, literally.
Jack Coulter was only a child when he heard his heartbeat resonating colour to him. But it was a long time after before he realised it was a normal thing with other kids.
This is a neurological phenomenon called synesthesia, in which two or more senses are attached. This enables Jack Coulter to hear colour. Now imagine how much colour his life resonates; when he’s in the market, when it is raining, when birds are singing. And his art, like we imagine his experiences to be, are strangely satisfying.
He says it is draining, but at the same time oddly satisfying. He recounts a moment from when he was a child that has stayed with him.
I remember when I was 11 my school teacher set a homework to draw from life and all the other students arrived in with perfectly drawn bowls of fruit and family portraiture. I had literally immersed my double page in colour. She simply said to me, “Have you always painted like that?” It really stayed with me; I painted life in my terms. I thought that I was going to get in trouble for expressing emotionality rather than representational means.
In a bid to continue making art of his own terms, Coulter, who is now 22, became a painter.
The best answer he gave was when asked if he sees this condition as a gift or burden, considering the amount of things he has to experience everyday. He said;
I don’t think that anything in life is either a gift or a burden. You can learn from all experiences, it’s very balanced. There are upsides, there are downsides.
And when asked to describe his painting in three words?