Interview: The Therapeutic Nature of Making Art with Colin Adrian

Colin Adrian is an American artist based in Portland, Oregon. Throughout his life he has been interested in many facets of art, primarily oil painting and now works mostly with glass.

When did you first feel a desire to create art?

I’ve been making art since I was a young kid. My parents enrolled me in an art school outside of my normal middle school. It was mostly all about charcoal drawing and painting with oils. I learned so much there and continued working with oils, mostly figurative work, throughout my life.

Why do you work with glass?

I’ve been drawing and painting all through grade school and through college. I really got into glass when I met my wife. She had played around with glass in the past and had a glass cutter and a few other tools.

With oil painting you can sort of always go back and work the piece. Glass is so final. When you are done you are done.

One of my favorite artists is Marc Chagall whose glass windows have always inspired me. We had the extra space in our New York apartment at the time, so I sort of just started messing around and I totally fell in love with it.

When did you first consider yourself an artist?

My entire life since I can remember I have loved to make art. I never gave myself the title, it’s just something that is part of my life.

Do you feel that creating is essential for your wellbeing?

For sure, yes. I freak out if I’m not doing something. Even if it’s putting something together like furniture or a toy for my three year old. I really enjoy the process. When I paint, I enjoy stretching a perfect canvas as well as the actual painting.

The potential with glass seems endless. If I need to take a break it’s usually because my fingers are too cut up to work and need a day to heal.

I can go on forever sometimes. It’s a healthy addiction for sure.

Is it something you consider to be spiritual?

I definitely go into my own world while working. Like a runner’s high. Not sure if it’s spiritual but it’s certainly therapeutic. A lot of time to be in your own head.

Do you ever look back on older pieces and struggle to understand them?

Not really, I look back at them and see where I came from.

Do you have advice for anyone worried that their work isn’t good enough to be considered art?

Do what makes you happy while you’re here. Not everyone will get what you are doing.