Synaesthesia is usually described as a union of two or more senses. For Brendan McCann, Deia musician and painter, experiencing sound as colour goes with the territory.
Brendan, who has an exhibition of his work at Sa Tanca opposite Sa Fonda until the end of July, has drawn, painted and made music ever since he was a child. He studied at art school in Australia and has a degree in music.
Deia has played an important part in Brendan’s life since he first came to the village aged four with his mother Frances and brother Patrick. He remembers Deia life as “very happy. We went to school in what is now the ajuntamento and our teacher was Don Jaime, a man very open to creativity”.
Another great influence on Brendan’s development was his mother Frances Graves, the Deia painter and long-time singer with the Pa Amb Oli band. “Mum was incredibly encouraging,” Brendan says. “We were always drawing.”
Brendan came back to Deia from Australia when he was 28, 14 years ago, and he’s lived in the village ever since – making art and music.
Today, Brendan’s art has a wonderfully bold, graphic approach which I personally like very much. I described his painting “Deia Vision” as Hanna-Barbera cartoons meet Vincent van Gogh and, luckily, Brendan took this as the compliment it was intended to be.
As we all know, Deia’s inspired many, many artists to attempt to paint the village and the landscape in which it sits. With varying degrees of success, it has to be said.
Plenty of these artists give up on ever attempting to capture what they see. Brendan is happy to admit that “while I like all the detail of the rocks and the olive terraces, and I love the harmonious nature of the colours, I use the landscape as a springboard for my imagination. Reality is my starting point for going off at a tangent. And, I’ve always liked Cubism. Don’t you think that some of the views of Valdemossa especially are very Cubist?”
Deia’s about freedom
One of the great subjects for debate in Deia is how much the village has changed. Some long-term residents mourn a lost Eden (which, it has to be said, was never innocent), others say Deia hasn’t really altered all that much.
As far as Brendan is concerned, “Deia is, in many ways, still the same. It remains a reasonably safe environment for kids to grow up in. There’s a very liberal attitude which encourages kids to be creative. There’s lots of freedom and amazing people to learn from. Basically, I think Deia’s about freedom, you know? No-one’s keeping an eye on you, if you’re part of the foreign element. This has been happening ever since I was a kid and it still goes on.”
And the synaesthesia?
“Being a musician,” Brendan says, “I’ve always thought there were parallels between the art forms. the terms are the same: ‘harmony’ for instance. I connect melody with drawing because it’s linear. There’s literally a melody line. Chords have associations with me too. A minor chord may sound like a shade of blue to me.”
You can buy “Deia Vision” from Brendan as well as a copy of his CD by calling +34 679817535. Play the CD while gazing at the painting and, who knows, some of Brendan’s synaesthesia may well rub off on you.