CSU students interpret music to make art

Gracie Ludens

Editor’s Note: Christian Johnson is a photographer at The Collegian. 

CSU art students Allyson Fyfe, Issac English, Christian CJ Johnson, Jessica Forney, and Joel Schreiner exhibit their art at a show on September 5th (Jack Starkebaum | Collegian).

Classical, rock and R&B songs fill the silence of the art gallery. Bright colors and intriguing images project onto the walls, lighting up the blank canvas of the gallery as a visual interpretation of the music that is playing.


For five Colorado State University students, merging art and music is just another way to express themselves. The student’s artwork will be on display from Sept. 5 to Sept. 8 in the Mini Gallery located in the Visual Arts building on CSU’s campus. Viewing the art will be on a walk-in basis for the entirety of the week.

“Klangfarbenmelodie,” the name of the art show, is referring to the combination of different art styles and music choices presented in the gallery. Joel Schreiner, a third-year electronic art and art education major, says the name of the show is representative of the five students coming together to put on a joint art show. Each student participating in the art show picked a song and created art based on what the song means to them.

“We didn’t choose a single song to all pull from,” Schreiner said. “We all chose our own songs, so it kind of goes in line with the definition of the name of the show.”

Schreiner’s friend and fellow artist Christian Johnson, a third-year student majoring in fine art photography, said the artists hope people come to the show and look up the name to understand more of the meaning behind the art as well as how it relates to the five art students putting on a joint show.

Originally, Johnson was planning on doing an individual art show. In July, he decided to ask other art students if they would be interested in putting on a joint art show because he knew that some of his friends needed the

Colorado State University student artwork is projected off of a computer during a show in the Visual Arts building on September 5 (Jack Starkebaum | Collegian).

experience before senior year.

Each artist took a different approach to the same general concept of interpreting music to make art, and the show holds different meanings for each of them. Schreiner said he is looking forward to sharing his art with others.

“I’m not usually one that just goes out like ‘hey, let’s put on a show’ or something,” Schreiner said. “It’s really just more of a quiet lifestyle.”

Schreiner’s art is based off a story he is writing, so he knew the character he wanted to depict before he knew the music that would go with it. He wanted to show a progression to represent how the character develops in the story, and after choosing the music he felt that the music fit well with the character.

“I wanted to find music that had similarities between the first two pieces and the last two pieces because in that way if would feel like it synergized well,” Schreiner said.


For Johnson, the art show holds a more personal meaning. After his last two solo shows focused abstract art, he was ready to share something deeper. He said he wanted to choose music that represents what he goes through rather than just choosing songs that he likes.

Johnson explained that the song “Philosopher King” by Dance Gavin Dance is about a king who wants the best for his people. The king is fundamentally flawed, but he does not know that. The song also talks about being held down by the past.

“The piece I did is more about me and moving on and not letting the past hold me down,” Johnson said.

Students who attended the opening of the gallery praised the work that was done. Robyn Pierce, a third-year microbiology student at CSU, said she could not pick a favorite piece because they were all great.

Colorado State University student artwork is projected off of a computer during a show in the Visual Arts building on September 5 (Jack Starkebaum | Collegian).

“I don’t usually see digital art combined with traditional art styles like that,” Pierce said. “I thought it was really awesome how they thought of that.”

Pierce also enjoyed the combination of art and music that the show displayed.

“It was something I hadn’t thought of before, but it makes perfect sense now that I’ve seen it,” Pierce said.

Johnson hopes viewers feel inspired to make art and have fun with it.

Johnson said, “Music and art are connected so it’s best to enjoy the two.”


Exhibit information: Sept. 5 to Sept. 8 in the Mini Gallery in the Visual Arts building located at 200 W. Lake St.

Artists: Isaac English, Jessica Forney, Allyson Fyfe, CJ Johnson and Joel Schreiner.

Fun fact: The title of the art show was originally pitched as a joke.


Collegian Reporter Gracie Ludens can be reached online at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @gracieludens.