Inspired by Music: Milisa Valliere

| October 14, 2011 | 0 Comments

What’s the soundtrack to your life?

Songs are time machines.  They take you back to very specific times in your life, they push you forward or they help to center you in the very moment you are in.  They become warm blankets in times of sadness, and a mentor in times of contemplation.  For painter Milisa Valliere, songs are her way into her paintings.

“By listening to the music I was tapping more into the emotion,” says Milisa.  Her bold and colorful abstract paintings are inspired by a daily soundtrack provided by her husband, Rolland Valliere, who just happens to be the President and Chief Creative Officer of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

Roland’s eclectic taste in music has led to the accumulation of over 116,000 songs, about 380 days worth of music. “It’s insane,” says Roland with a laugh, “it’s an obsession really.” That obsession has guided Milisa to an intensely varied scope of paintings, inspired maybe on one day by Bach, the other by Janis Joplin, or even Pink Floyd.

“He always stretches my imagination,” says Milisa of her husband.  Her husband’s playlists help her to create emotional splashes of color or flowing brush strokes of continual motion.  With an energy that almost leaps off of the canvas, each painting uniquely invokes the spirit of the musicians Milisa connected with.

“If there’s a universal language it’s music,” states Milisa.  She also speaks to the transporting aspect of music, “They’re vacations.  They’re mini-vacations.  You get to travel to different places in the chorus of one song.”

With a collection of 66 paintings inspired by 45 different songs, Milisa and Roland have no intention of stopping.  Music and inspiration are constantly flowing through their apartment in downtown Columbus. “There’s never an empty day,” says Milisa.

Currently a selection of paintings are on view at the Hammond Harkins Gallery, where viewers can listen to the songs that inspired the paintings by scanning a QR code on their phones. You can also visit Milisa’s YouTube Channel,, where you can see all of the paintings and hear the songs that inspired them.  

Who knows? Maybe you can find some music that will inspire you.


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