Meet Rebecca Fahey the vibrant Irish artist with Synesthesia
The neurological condition stimulates several senses meaning she sees numbers and letters as specific colours
By Clodagh Meaney
Raised in Ellistown, Co. Kildare, Rebecca Fahey is a 23-year-old multimedia artist who lives with Synesthesia.
Synesthesia is a neurological condition where information that is meant to stimulate one of your senses, instead stimulates several of your senses.
Some synesthetes smell different foods when they hear music, others can taste shapes. For Rebecca, she associates different colours with different letters and numbers.
"I've thought in colour for as long as I can remember, particularly in school using colours in numbers and letters," she told EMPWR.
"I remember getting in trouble in primary school for drawing numbers as colours, the way that I saw them."
While she has thought in colour since a very young age, Rebecca did not know that she had Synesthesia until well into her college years.
"It wasn't until I was studying in NCAD and explaining my work to my assessment tutor about my creative process and doing my own research that I realised it was Synesthesia," she said.
Beginning her career as an artist at the tender age of 16, she was featured by leading and respected art curators Love Watts and The Tax Collection.
Rebecca started out as a painter and illustrator and then began selling prints of her paintings online.
"I feel like for as long I can remember I've always been into creative things," she said.
"I was really into drawing and illustration when I was younger, then explored other areas of art as I've gotten older, such as graphic designing, styling, production and creative direction for photoshoots."
Her favourite type of art is art that has an "amazing concept."
"Anything that tells a story to me. I love listening to other artists' creative processes, no matter what their medium," she explained.
Despite often being told that her work is vibrant, Rebecca said that she perceives it as normal.
"I've always expressed such large amounts of vibrancy in my work as it always feels natural to me," she explained.
"With my photoshoots, I love using my multi-sensory techniques with clothing, makeup, and locations to emphasise my work. I've noticed people who are drawn to my work are always amazed by how vibrant my shoots are but to be honest, my work just looks normal to me."
Despite this, Rebecca's experiences with Synesthesia has given her a different perspective of colour which she says gives a definite edge to her work.
Rebecca has photographed Tara Stewart and Molly Parsons among other notable Irish stars.
"I've worked with a good amount of Irish artists and musicians, such as Why Axis, Upbeat, Slight Motif's Uncle Bounce, and Marcus Woods."
Currently based in New York, Rebecca works with large advertising agencies and as an editorial freelancer. Her work is influenced by her surrealistic and innovative approaches to creative tasks and her Synesthesia.
Comparing the art scene at home and abroad Rebecca said: "New York and Dublin, are quite similar in terms of looking out for other artists in the community which is a favourite of mine," she said.
"When it comes to differences I feel people in the New York art scene all have different backgrounds that they express in their work, I met so many different characters."
While in New York, she worked with drag queen Virgo Couture along with many other queens from the NYC queer scene.
"Working in the drag/queer scenes honestly for me was very exciting," she explained.
"Seeing a new perspective on design, makeup, styling and how the NYC queer community express themselves. The queer drag scenes are very socially aware and open to creative ideas."
Giving advice to budding photographers and creative directors, Fahey says it's best to be fearless and explore different aspects of art.
"Do whatever feels right for you creatively," she said.
"When I was first starting out I would assist a lot of shoots to learn new techniques, how photoshoots run. Shadow other photographers to learn and improve your own craft."