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    Self-Help — Q&A with ADHD (AKA SpaceCase)

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    Self-Help — Q&A with ADHD (AKA SpaceCase)

    BW: Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?

    ADHD: Hi my name is Colin, aka ADHD, aka Space Case. I’m a neurodivergent multidisciplinary artist from Pennsylvania, USA. I’m sensitive and easily distracted. I’ve been a full-time artist for over ten years and I love to work on the entire spectrum of digital, analog, and everything in between. I make work about the human condition and often about the parts of it we don’t have words for. 


    BW: Tell me about the piece you’re bringing to Miami with MakersPlace & Transient Labs.

    ADHD: I’m bringing a freshly completed mixed-media painting on wood panel called Self-Help. It’s an abstract work that is fixated on the emotions surrounding the ideas of therapy, the self-help industry, helplessness, and bootstrap mentality. When it comes to abstraction, I tend to see these works as mirrors. 

    I just told you what I was thinking about when I created it but I am totally open to the idea that when someone else steps in front of it that their reflection will potentially alter that meaning. There is something magical about that. It’s terrifying, mystifying, and absolutely exhilarating to me that art can have this type of multiplicity. 


    BW: Is there anything special about this piece in the context of your body of work?

    ADHD: Last year I began a series of abstract digital paintings called Sleep Studies. I created them just before I would go to sleep and right after I would wake up. I never titled any of them beyond the date that they were started, and I let them be totally meditative and intuitive so they rarely had any objective subject matter either. I closed this series recently but have begun to take those digital studies and use them for groundwork on these new larger physical paintings which, in contrast, do have unique titles and subjective underpinnings. This piece would fall into this category of works and in fact this is the largest one that I’ve completed to date. 


    BW: Can you share any specific rituals or practices that help you maintain your creative momentum?

    ADHD: I have extreme ADHD. My artist name isn’t clever, it’s quite literal LOL. So I need to do all types of things to stay on task and sort of trick my brain into staying in the studio. Meditation in the morning is insanely helpful to defrag the hard drive, if you will, but I don’t always get to do it. Dangerous amounts of caffeine and other stimulants are often consumed. Food is brought with me so I don’t have to think about it or leave for hours at a time. 

    I love painting to music but I can sometimes find it distracting at certain planning stages. Same with podcasts. I really love to make playlists on YouTube of artist talks and documentaries and just let them play all day and night to make me feel motivated and less lonely. It feels like I am hanging out with another artist sometimes with the right lecture or studio visit video. 

    All of that said, when I am in the zone, I can work in total silence for hours on end without even noticing. It’s really the getting started and then stopping parts that are the most difficult and tricky.  


    BW: How much planning or preliminary thought goes into each painting?

    ADHD: This is actually something that I like to change up quite frequently so that I don’t get too formulaic about art making. 

    Sometimes I think about an artwork or concept or title for literal years before I ever actually make an attempt at it. Other times, it’s immediate. It also depends on the medium and the aesthetic. If I am making a physical painting with figurative elements, for example, that will have quite a good deal of actual planning, sketching and then slow beginning foundational layers because to put it simply there is no ‘undo’ button with physical paintings. 

    An abstract physical would have slightly less but I think about the composition and palette for a while and will sometimes make preliminary studies. There are collage and decollage aspects to both my digital and physical works that I like to keep less planned and more intuitive. I find that any ultra-planned collage work I make winds up feeling stiff and soulless. 

    The digital approaches in general can be more hands-on because it’s very simple to get rid of initial layers once you start to get somewhere but I would say that some amount of planning or forethought always helps things for me. 


    BW: How would you describe how your work is currently evolving? 

    ADHD: I would say that I am constantly pushing the boundaries of what people expect from me so that I can consistently feel free to do anything that I want creatively. I like to think of my art as being an extension of myself so as I evolve as a person I would like for it to evolve with me. The idea of doing the same thing over and over sounds like hell but also feels too much like a marketing decision. 

    I understand obsession, however, and I am in full support of obsessing over a certain idea or aesthetic repeatedly until you feel satisfied or bored by it. I recently had a solo show made up almost entirely of physical works and a few digital video loops after being known most distinctly for still digital paintings so currently I feel totally liberated and inspired to create in any medium that calls to me. 

    Someone recently told me that even my photographs from 20 years ago feel like the “me” that they knew only through my abstract digital paintings which was such an amazing compliment. That’s exactly the type of evolution I’m aiming for. A throughline of emotionality and conceptual framework that supersedes everything that is related to genre or other limiting criteria.


    BW: What do you hope people feel when they look at your art?

    ADHD: I have learned that it is best not to have rigid expectations when it comes to how people react to my work. That said, being neurodivergent and disabled are personal aspects of myself that naturally find their way into my art and so for people who deal with similar issues I hope that they can feel seen and held by it. 

    For those who are neurotypical as they say, I hope that perhaps my work can give insight into a different way to think or feel or enable empathy or connection to those that maybe they couldn’t prior. I love the idea of making art that makes someone feel safe or understood, like a secret code has been traded between us but it certainly doesn’t always have to be that deep regardless of the fact that I am always creating in the amount of layers that would allow for it to be. 

    Ultimately, I believe that art can be so many things to so many different people. For some, there can be a type of connection that feels sacred and immersive. For others, it can be purely decorative. I don’t want to be in the business of telling people what they should get from mine, I just continue to be fascinated and mostly delighted by the immense range of reactions that there can be.


    BW: What role does physical art play in the broader web3 art ecosystem?

    ADHD: It brings me immense joy to confidently say that I think it will be a big one. For a long time, I was unsure about it. It’s still not quite perfect, there are still some aspects that are a little clunky but advances like T.R.A.C.E. are surely going to blow the doors off. 

    I think that it’s a no-brainer for blockchain tech to be used to enhance provenance of physical artifacts, it’s one of the main things greatly lacking in the traditional art world and a very obvious way towards progress. As someone who loves to play at the extremes and in between analog and digital I have been thrilled to watch the division between the two slowly disintegrate. 


    BW: Who or what else excites you in the art world (web3 or trad) right now?

    ADHD: There are far too many to name! I don’t like to distinguish trad and web3 but some of my favorite artists are Sarah Sze, Crow, Elliot Hundley, Noumenal, Klara Lidén, Wade Guyton,0x3y3, Barry McGee, Sarah Zucker, Rachel Rossin, Joe Pease, Nevin Johnson, Julie Mehretu, Edgar Fabián Frías, Sasha Stiles, Avery Singer, Zak Tustont, Jake Fried, Rare Force1, Diane Lindo, Aleqth, Goldcat, Mark Bradford, honestly the list goes on forever. 


    For updates on all of our upcoming editorial features and artist interviews, subscribe to our newsletter below.

    The post Self-Help — Q&A with ADHD (AKA SpaceCase) first appeared on MakersPlace Editorial.

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