Imagine looking at a favorite photo of your grandchildren and hearing them giggle. Or maybe enjoying a vivid image of Red Mountain Pass and hearing John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” while soft, bluish lights pulse around the picture.
This isn’t the stuff of science fiction, but technology that’s currently available.
According to artist Lu Anne Tyrrell, all it takes is Wi-Fi and a smartphone. And, of course, a Soundwall.
A new medium
A Montrose resident for the past 18 years, Tyrrell is an artist who captures images with cameras, brushes and now with Soundwall technology.
“My inspiration definitely comes from the beauty of nature, and capturing and creating that in a unique expression for the public to see and feel, perhaps in a new way,” she said.
Tyrrell created a series she calls Cloudscapes, in which she photographed Colorado skies and clouds.
“They are contemplative in feel and I can imagine them integrating with many [genres] of music, such as classical and meditative,” said Tyrrell.
That’s where Soundwall comes in.
This Boulder-based company’s website says its product “allows you to stream your favorite music wirelessly from a beautiful work of art.”
The company produces flat-panel speakers made of aluminum, which fill spaces with a rich, natural sound. The entire surface is a speaker, so the sound emanates evenly, with no dead spots. The art itself is printed onto the aluminum via a dye sublimation process.
Recently, Soundwall debuted a new version that incorporates a touchscreen and lights. Users may touch the artwork to play, pause and skip songs, and use Soundwall’s mobile app to set mood lighting.
“I’m always intrigued with what I can produce with my art—art on tapestry, pillows, shawls,” Tyrrell said. “And now art meets audio.”
According to the Soundwall website, its technology is being used in the health care industry, hospitality and in residential and commercial settings. As a dealer of Soundwall, Tyrrell can pair her images and/or a client’s image with the Soundwall product.
This new medium is a far cry from the first photo Tyrrell took, “back in the Kodak days.”
Her parents always took a camera on family trips, she said.
“I was always drawing, and now and again had a chance to use the camera. Then my parents went to a demo of the first Polaroid black-and-white camera at the Denver Dry Goods [Company]. They brought the camera home and that was incredibly cool.”
Around 2003, she began taking photos at nearly every event and throughout town.
“Stephen Woody (the former publisher of the Montrose Daily Press) hired me for freelance work, and loaned me his Olympus digital camera. Since that time I have continued to upgrade,” she said.
Tyrrell said the most challenging aspect of her work has been “the quantum leaps in technology.”
“I can offer the best service to clients because I stay current,” she said.
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