Susan Sparks

My most recent work is an exploration of a new media and technique, as well as an exploration of sight and sound. A little over two years ago I was shown a new technique using what I call “Ink, Tape & Magic.” The process involves aluminum plumber’s tape, foam core, India ink and a drawing/etching process. The result is a piece that looks like a cross between an etching plate and a piece of metal repoussé work. The current series is all based on visual representations of patterns and textures of sound. The band “Kinky” has a song called the “Headphonist”. It is about walking around wearing your headphones, giving your own sound to your visual world, and basically blocking out the sounds of the rest of the world around you. There is a line in the song that goes, “… everything that I see has a sound, but what is the shape of silence?” After listening to this one day in the car, it got me to thinking about pattern, rhythm and texture in sound and how best to represent that visually. I was introduced to the “Ink, Tape & Magic” around the same time, and decided to experiment with the two. I spent many hours just listening to different songs and types of music, everything from classical to jazz, to new age, to funk & classic rock and anything else that I could get my hands and ears on. And, while I listened, I paid close attention to the “visual” patterns that the music created. This process has culminated in my current “Art of Noise” series.