Drawing Sounds

Final Image

By: Valerie Parrish


For my installation, the participant was encouraged to listen to the sound piece and get their creative juices flowing. There was a big piece of drawing paper and drawing utensils on a table in front of them and they were asked to draw a picture that they felt best represented what they heard. This installation helps to make the connection that music inspires art and art inspires music.


The sound file I created for my final installation was a compilation of different sounds of Creative Commons. I layered sounds to make an entirely new sound. For the installation, I played the music for my audience and had them draw on a single sheet of paper. To create this project, it took me several hours to create the file. I wanted to make sure that the file sounded smooth and flowed well together. In the end, the sound piece came together and it was ready to play for my audience at Divine Consign for the First Friday Art Walk. I played it through my speakers using my iPod.


As the participant sat down at the installation, they were required to really listen to the sound piece to make it a successful visit. They were placed in front of a drawing board and drawing utensils and were asked to draw what they heard. The installation forced the participant to visualize the music and to think creatively. Even if someone wasn’t artistic, the music inspired. Whether it was an intricate drawing or simple lines, it all represented the notes and sounds they heard.

Statement of Purpose

As an artist, I always listen to music when I am producing artwork. It helps to inspire and get the creative juices flowing. My goal was to get people thinking creatively and to visualize the music. Everyone has a connection to music in different ways and I wanted a visual representation of that. Each individual has a different level of creativity compared to others and I wanted to explore that.


My influences for this installation was my drawing class. I love to draw and have been drawing since I can remember. But recently I’ve been producing a lot more creative pieces than before. I wanted to create and installation that I could relate to personally and benefit from, rather than an idea I was settling with. Seeing how the final drawing from the installation came out is what I was excited for. I created the sound piece and I wanted to see how people interpreted it because it might not have been the same as how I saw it.

Fit Within Larger Notion of Aesthetics

There was a similar project in the class, they were asked to write a short story about what they heard. His actual sound piece was a lot different than mine. But as of right now, I haven’t heard anything like mine before. My installation got people thinking creatively and hopefully encouraged them to think of music as art or that music is more than notes and words. Music has always unified people. I wanted my work to make people forget about the world, their problems, and relieve any stress building up inside of them.

Materials & Methodology

I downloaded all of my sound files off of creative commons and edited it through Garageband. My art resources I brought from my house. As I was making the sound piece, I visualized what I was hearing. To decide what sounds to use, I picked sounds I liked and could visualize in my head. There was no purpose behind any of the sounds or intention of a storyline. It’s simply a collection of sounds that I enjoyed and thought flowed well together. As for this website, I used WordPress and wrote all of the information in my artist statement in a blog post.


My goal for this installation is to get people thinking creatively. The drawing at the end of the installation, I hoped to be full of different images with a similar theme. Even though they may be different images, they all have a similar theme because all participants are listening to the same sound file. After the event, the drawing turned out to be really cool! Everyone had different interpretations of what the sound looked like to them. There were some drawings that were somewhat similar, but overall there was a lot of variety.

Self Reflection

I love all forms of art. Drawing is one of my main art forms I engage in and I wanted to involve it with my sound piece. I previously had a different idea for my installation, but I wasn’t excited about it. Once I thought of this idea, I immediately changed it. When I draw, I always have some type of music or background noise going. It helps to inspire me and gets me thinking creatively. I wanted my audience to experience the same and be encouraged to think creatively. The success of this installation can be determined by the outcome of the drawing. The drawing turned out to be better than I could have imagined. Though, my favorite part was watching each participant think about the music. You could see their mind going and them tapping into their creative side. Some individuals even closed their eyes and furrowed their brows while they concentrated. Everyone was listening to what their heart was saying and was imagining images that were evoked by the music. That, by far, was my favorite part.


We Are Unified

By: Valerie Parrish

OVERVIEW: With the divisions recently created by political reasons, this piece is intended to unite people. Some people have forgotten the power of unity. We Are United is designed to bring people back together with hopes that they will forget about their petty differences.

BACKGROUND: I used different clips of famous speeches from various movies. They are movies that people can recognize and reflect back on when they watched it. The audience is able to visualize the scenes from which these speeches occurred in their movies. I used Garage Band to put the audio clips together and uploaded the finished work to Sound Cloud.

DESCRIPTION: I took various famous speeches from different movies and clipped them together to create a new narrative speech. I arranged the different lines from the movies and created a speech about unity between people. I included a audience track as the bed of the clip to make it sound like the actors were actually giving their speech to a crowd.

PURPOSE: The goal is to bring everyone back in from the recent divisions created by certain political events. Everyone is forgetting that we are “one nation under God” and that living divided only brings destruction. I didn’t want to make a stand or voice my political opinion with this clip because that defeats the purpose of what I was trying to do. This is an attempt to remind everyone that we are all just people who need each other. Strength comes in numbers.

INFLUENCES: The Women’s March on Washington: PDX that I photographed and the various protests I photographed influenced this piece. It’s crazy to see how people act when it comes to politics. It brings out the darkness and anger in everyone. There are arguments, protests, violence, and degradation. All ideas of unity goes out the door. Even the Women’s March on Washington, they stood in unity, but they stood against our President and anyone who supported him. They carried posters that were foul and insulting to the President of the United States. It made me sad to see such a divide in our country.

FIT WITHIN LARGER NOTION OF AESTHETICS: I used pieces from other artists, such as movie directors, screenwriters, producers, actors, etc. To make it different, I rearranged the lines and created an entirely new speech. I hope that this piece causes people to think about their own lives and how they’ve been acting during this recent political season.

MATERIALS & METHODOLOGY: I ripped the sound files of the movies from YouTube, got the audience sound file from YouTube, and edited my piece in Garage Band. I exported it and uploaded it to Sound Cloud. My website is created on WordPress. This piece took me approximately three to four hours to create from beginning to end. The photo used at the top of my website is my own photo I took in Oaxaca, Mexico.

OUTCOMES: It turned out extremely similar to what I wanted. The speech turned out how I wanted to. I wish that I could find a way to make the transition between each line a lot smoother. Sometimes there is an awkward jump between the clips because one is louder and has music and the other is quieter and has no music. But overall, I am very happy with how my work turned out.

SELF-REFLECTION: I want to further this piece. I think that sending this message out is extremely important right now for our country. There are more speeches from movies out there that I can use in my sound file to make the new speech run smoother. I will also look for ways to make the transitions less dramatic. My goal was to bring people together again and remind them that we need to be a unified country to survive. We will not move forward if there is division. In the future, I want to work out a way that I can involve other people in this clip. We Are United is intended to unite people, so why not join together with my community to voice this idea. If we get a handful of people involved, they, in turn, can gather even more people together. It would be cool to see this grow into something that influences many.