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Spencer Harrison · Synesthesia

Creative People

Spencer Harrison is a graphic designer and all round creative guy. Before he studied design, though, Spencer was studying nanotechnology – true story!

Spencer’s new exhibition Synesthesia, draws on his scientific background, and particularly his fascination with the nuances of human perception. The exhibition opens in Melbourne this Friday.

1st March, 2016
Lisa Marie Corso
Tuesday 1st March 2016

Spencer Harrison is a graphic designer and versatile creative, who in his former life studied nanotechnology and sciences. ‘I’m fascinated by the world of science, and the power of the brain to shape our perceptions of reality,’ he explains. Even though Spencer has been working full-time in the creative fields for the past few years, his most recent body of work, Synesthesia, draws from his scientific background. ‘When I discovered the concept of synesthesia, I was fascinated by the idea of senses getting crossed, and how this could present a reality that is different but still very truthful on a personal level’ Spencer explains.

Scientifically speaking, synesthesia refers to a neurological phenomenon where stimulation of one sensory pathway leads to involuntary sensory experiences of another. In layman’s terms, it’s as if two or more of the senses are intertwined. A synesthete might associate specific letters of the alphabet with certain colours, they might ‘hear’ visual stimuli or ‘taste’ a certain type of music.

Spencer’s obsession with this phenomenon has resulted in a collection of 10 paintings and 8 mixed-media collages that will form his second solo exhibition, opening in Melbourne later this week. For this show, Spencer was keen to play with the viewer’s sensory experience and cognitive response to the imagery presented. With this in mind, each work packs a visual punch, incorporating bold colour, shape and pattern all rolled into one.

‘I have been closely observing the world around me, abstracting and remixing my sense of sight to produce a series of cut paper collage studies and paintings,’ Spencer explains. ‘I was interested to see how the things we see, including shape, colour, pattern recognition, may become warped and crossed when looked upon closely.’

In between making the works for this show, Spencer teaches graphic design part-time, and is currently preparing for a workshop he is running at the -ING creative conference next month in Dubai.

Synesthesia by Spencer Harrison
Open on Friday 4th March from 6.00 to 9.00pm
Gallery open by appointment on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th March 

195 Argyle Street
Fitzroy, VIC

Synesthesia workshop details available here.

‘Pasta for Dinner’, acrylic on canvas, 82 cm x 56 cm. Photos of artworks by Mark Lobo.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email