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Turning sound into art – what’s in a word?

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As we prepare to unveil Amrita Sethi’s brand new Voice Note Art © in the coming weeks, we felt inspired to get into the mind of an artist and think about the connection between words, sound and art.

As Amrita herself says: ‘a picture paints a thousand words, but a word can also create a thousand pictures’. And it’s true, words are incredibly powerful, and when in the hands of an artist, can turn into something no one ever expected. 

But what inspires someone like Amrita to take everyday words and turn them into masterpieces? 

Every word has different meanings

Pick a word, any word. Now look it up in the dictionary: how many meanings are there? 

Now, unless you picked a truly obscure word, we’re willing to bet there’s more than one meaning associated with your chosen word. 

Sometimes these multiple definitions cause confusion, but for a visionary artist like Amrita, it opens up a world of possibilities. With so many meanings to pick from, it means there are many, many images that can be used to represent that one word. And that’s just literal representations of a word, once you get into metaphorical and figurative representations, the world is your oyster. And when a skilled artist like Amrita taps into this unlimited potential and applies their creativity, that’s when magic happens.  

Every person connects differently to different words

Aside from the actual ‘proper’ definitions of a word, there are also our personal interpretations and connotations that come into play. When creating a Voice Note Art © piece for a cityscape such as Dubai, Amrita pulls from her own personal, intimate knowledge of that vibrant city, and uses that, alongside key landmarks to create a unique portrait of the skyline. 

Yet, ask anyone else about their perception of Dubai, and you’d get an entirely different set of images suggested. Perhaps they’d call to mind a particular restaurant where they got engaged, or a shoreline where they discovered snorkeling for the first time. 

Try it yourself, say the name of a city out loud and see what comes to mind for you. Now ask a friend or family member to do the same – did they say the same things? Maybe there was a bit of crossover, but there were probably differences. 

And that’s just a city. What about more abstract words, such as ‘love’, ‘happiness’, ‘joy’. This is where turning words into art really becomes about the person as much as the word. For Amrita, part of her process is researching not only the word she’s creating an image of, but also the person she’s collaborating with. And it’s something we love about what she does – she highlights just how personal art is, and brings that personality to all of her pieces, whether that’s her own, or in the case of her custom pieces, the personality of whoever she’s creating artwork for.  

Words have energy and the ability to change the world

Not to get all deep and metaphysical, but words really do have the power to change the world. The words we use in our day to day lives affect how we feel, and how we make others feel. 

Sometimes hard words are needed, but on the whole, we’d argue that a vocabulary of kindness is the way to go. Speaking kindly to yourself and others is a power we all have, and it’s something Amrita aims to capture in her work. By basing her artwork on words that focus on positivity and joy, her work brings the power of words to life in a whole new way. 

What would you pick for your voice note?

As it turns out, there’s a lot to a word, and we are starting to realise just why they’re so important in art. 

Now we’re wondering what words we would choose if Amrita offered to do a Voice Note Art piece for us? And we definitely want to know what you would choose – would you pick your name? Maybe your favourite place? Perhaps your favourite word? 

Let us know in the comments, or share your ideas on social media with the hashtag #MyVoiceNoteArt – we’d love to see what sounds you’d turn into art. 

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