Virginia Hughes in Seed Magazine:
Smilack has a rare form of synesthesia that involves all of her senses—the sound of one female voice looks like a thin, bending sheet of metal, and the sight of a certain fishing shack gives her a brief taste of Neapolitan ice cream—but her artistic leanings are shared by many other synesthetes. Scientists estimate that synesthesia is about seven times more common in poets, novelists, and artists than in the rest of the population. (Some of the most famous examples include artists David Hockney and Wassily Kandinsky and writer Vladimir Nabokov.)
In the last decade, this connection between synesthesia and art has drawn much attention from neuroscientists. And now several genetic and behavioral studies aim to pin down the biological mechanisms linking art and synesthesia, with hopes of answering even bigger questions about how every brain perceives art.