Breaking News
More () »

Artist with a rare neurological condition sees and paints sounds

A White Bear Lake artist uses her audio-visual synesthesia to make beautiful art out of music she hears and uses it to educate people about her condition.

WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minnesota — "Communities that KARE" showcases the changemakers in our neighborhoods.

A White Bear Lake artist mixes mediums to educate and create a unique experience for music and art lovers.

"This is what I see when I hear the song, "Come to me my sweetest friend," by the Goo Goo Dolls." Sarah Kraning's art isn't just inspired by music; it is the music.

The painter has a condition called auditory-visual synesthesia.

"I see colors and patterns and textures when I hear a sound, and specifically, music is really vivid," Kraning explained.

There are about 80 different forms of synthesesia, but not a lot of people know about them.

"I went to school for speech and language pathology, so I worked in neuroscience, which is how I was able to learn about synesthesia," said Kraning. "It's a blessing and a curse. Sometimes it's really hard to focus."

Sarah describes the images she sees as extraordinarily vivid and a lot to take on in a noisy environment.

Now, the painter uses her condition to her advantage. She's creating art on canvas and using social media to spread the word.

"It's been really nice to be able to have a business where I can share my synesthesia and educate about it." Her business is called Seeing Sounds Art.

Sarah and her husband, Jackson Simon, have half a million followers on TikTok, where they interact with fans and people with different forms of synesthesia.

Jackson has a rare case himself. He can taste words and names. "It's a fun way to see the world. You know to hear words and names and to actually taste the foods in my mouth," he explained.

The couple now rolls with their TikTok stardom and lets the music lead Sarah's brush. "'Cause, it's what I love to do."