March 27, 2023


Isabella Stefanescu is a painter, writer and arts activist who has had a hand in many projects including The Notebook Project and Euphonopen. She did the projection design for Lord Swords, a play featuring just two actors, recently performed at the Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts in Kitchener.

She is also the artistic director of an art group called Inter Arts Matrix, a non-profit charitable arts organization which aims to mix research and art to create new ways to understand the world around us. They own a factory space made into studios so that they can host and work with a variety of artists for their various projects.

“Right now we have about 40 studio spaces, about 40 people working out of here. All professional artists and craftspeople. We have anything from ceramic artists, sculptors, electronics, web designers, people working in radio technology. You name it, we have it here.”

One of her newest projects is Euphonopen, which was shown in all its glory at the City of Waterloo Amplify Culture Summit on Oct. 26.
Euphonopen is a digital drawing instrument that emulates sound when used. It uses a standard-looking monitor which hooks up to a projector.

The program allows you to select between a pencil, pen and watercolour brush. Each creates a different sound, as does the different brush strokes, and choice of size or colour. Stefanescu, Klaus Engel the machine developer and interface designer and, Miles Thorogood, the sound design contributor, have worked on Euphonopen since 2013.

They individually recorded dozens of musicians who seemed to have the right fit and sound they were looking for. Some of their sounds have been manipulated to also fit various moods and the different mark-makings.

“What’s interesting for the instrumentalist or vocalist is that they hear the sound they make used in a way the instrument itself can’t. It’s interesting for them to play with their instruments in that way,” Stefanescu said. “So this is what I mean when I say every instrument has a meaning.”

They didn’t create the Euphonopen for a commercial reason, although Stefanescu recognizes the potential to market such a creation.
Inter Arts Matrix will be holding a winter social on Dec. 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in a venue that is yet to be announced. Keep an eye on their website for further details.

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