Art Can Be More Than an Emotional Stimuli

Alder Crocker Painting

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When you meet Alder Crocker, the first thing you notice is that he is a quadriplegic in an orange electric wheelchair, the result of a freak accident in May of 2018. “I broke my neck and instantly became 85% paralyzed, ” tells Alder. When he is not speeding around the house or the neighborhood, the second thing that you notice is that while “my shoulders and arms have a range of motion, I have no movement in my fingers. Together, these non-traditional faculties define my unique techniques and style… as prior to my accident I hadn’t painted since 3rd grade when my bowl of fruit was referred to as “compost.”

The next time Alder picked up a brush was during rehabilitation, over 40 years later, when he had four (4) brief art therapy sessions to help improve muscle memory. “And the darnedest thing happened… as soon as I had a brush in my hand,” says Alder. “Images and colors began to flood my consciousness… and quite miraculously, I was able to paint.” He is the beneficiary of Acquired Savant Syndrome. The traumatic brain injury had somehow uncovered latent artistic ability.

Alder was unaccustomed to the deep chasms of despair, loneliness, and fear, So he bullied himself into accepting nature’s randomness and immersed himself in the powers of color and light. Remarkably, Alder tells us that the “very act of painting, of holding a brush, squirt bottle or paint tube in my palms now gives me the undeniable value and purpose I could not find after the accident – a verifiable and challenging place in the world. On terms, I have defined and accepted.”

The result of Anders’ rumination was the emotional transference of the Christmas morning joy. He wakes up with every day, “combined with the instinctive use of symbols and shapes from his journey, and the appreciation for the absolutely unpredictable nature of life… all woven together to create fantastical, vibrantly colorful, visual adventures as equally unexpected as they are good fun.”

“And maybe,” Alder says, “I am lucky, I can help just one person escape life’s daily pressures and difficulties… even if only for a fleeting moment”

Alder continues, ”Focusing primarily within the field of abstract expressionism, I have worked hard to come up with the most efficient and effective methods to deliver on canvas. Utilizing latex and acrylic paints and the occasional ink, I use a unique action painting technique I describe as “the 4 corners approach”. Because I must remain in my chair, I paint on a canvas laying flat on a table and rotate the canvas continuously until completed. Essentially, I am therefore painting from “all four corners and sides”, and inherently painting four paintings within one painting itself. The hidden bonus: many of my paintings can be viewed and hung from any of the four sides.”

Alder is still realizing his voice and enjoys paying homage to some of the greats – from Pollock, Kandinsky, and Kline to de Kooning, Johns, Herring, and Reinhardt – and you will see hints and shades as you review his portfolio. Additionally, he is influenced by the art and alphabets of ancient cultures, including the Sumerians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Mesoamericans. 

Born and raised in New York City, Alder is married to Erin, his “much better half. Combined we have three pretty terrific kids in their 20’s.”

Alder Crocker, living proof of Extreme Art . . . Art without Boundaries. 

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