New York-based artist Kevin Umaña created Pocket Symphony, a book of 40 gouache paintings, to visually represent music. Following the structure of a classical symphony, the series is broken down into four parts, starting with impact and gradually changing to become “quieter”.
“The first part of the book is bright and vivid with energetic patterns, much like the first movement of a symphony, a sonata,” Kevin explains. “As the book goes on, the colours tend to become more muted and transform as the song progresses, eventually ending with a two-tone work and simple line work. As a whole, the book forms a linear narrative and is meant to convey the energy and spirit of a traditional symphony”
Many of the pieces have distinct patterns and repeated forms, portraying a rhythm. Others are more erratic, showing a less rigid composition. Kevin listened to music while creating the pieces, and says that his emotional reaction “compelled shapes and colour to form in my head like a game of Tetris”. He tried to keep his references broad, listening to “lo-fi garage, 1960’s pop music and contemporary electronic artists like Blood Orange and Grimes”.
He was also inspired by Scandinavian architecture and design, and its “mathematical approach to modernity,” particularly in his use of form and colour. Like the rest of his portfolio, the paintings are abstract yet structured, displaying a huge variance in composition as well as the artist’s keen eye for colour combination.