One of Queensland’s foremost jazz and blues artists, Dr Jeff Usher was born with advanced glaucoma and recalls he could see colours until about the age of 15.
He learned braille from the age of 5 and then used a screen reader when he studied his Masters of Music from Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, and a PhD in Music Composition from the University of Queensland.
An accomplished pianist, composer, blues singer, lecturer as well as teacher, Jeff has recorded seven jazz albums and has been teaching at the Conservatorium since 1998.
Jeff has only light perception in his right eye and experiences synaesthesia – where the stimulation of one sensor stimulates another sensor at the same time. In this case, Jeff associates words and sounds with colours.
During high school Jeff attended a boarding school, St Edmund’s College and it was a trip to Sydney Town Hall to see the Symphony Orchestra that is one of his last images. It was about 4pm in the afternoon when his music teacher and three students met outside the school before they headed off to Sydney. The sun had at least another hour in the sky before sunset and the sun catching the light of the lime green dress has stuck in Jeff’s mind ever since and artist Meredith Howse has crated this in her painting. Remaining friends after he finished school, Jeff dedicated his PhD to her.
Experience the immersive artwork soundscape:
Award winning, Australian artist Meredith Howse draws inspiration from the beauty of landscape.
A finalist in the Queensland Figurative Art Prize, Maritime Art Prize, Lethbridge 10,000, Milburn Art Awards, Art Lovers Australia Art Prize, Clayton Utz Art Awards, Brisbane Rotary Spectacular and The Doyles. She is an acclaimed artist having received awards at the Gold Coast Show, Wallamba District Show, The Great Lakes Art Awards, Petrie Terrace Gallery Exhibitions and Aspects at Goondiwindi. Meredith became a best selling artist on Bluethumb in 2020 and featured on The Block 2021 as an Art Lovers Australia established artist.
Meredith inaugurated and co-curated the Tower Art Show, in Ashgrove, bringing together local artists.
As a Last Seen 2023 model, Dr Jeff Usher is also composing his own piece, celebrating the joy arising from his memory of vivid colours, especially green.
Jeff thinks of his compositions as living personalities. He considers each a song, telling a unique story and taking the listener on a vivid journey.
This new composition for Last Seen 2023, entitled ‘Angel in a Lime Green Dress’, is a dedication to his wonderful friend and music teacher, Kathleen Kerr, who still services as an inspiration to Jeff 25 years after her passing.