The Arte Moose Collective was founded in 2012 in Brooklyn, New York. The members of Arte Moose are artists with developmental disabilities, who founded the collective to introduce their ideas and visual creativity into the larger discourse of contemporary art. Chad DeRoche is one of the most prolific artists of the collective. For years, Chad has been creating artwork using a variety of media and with support from the staff of AHRC New York City’s Brooklyn Day Habilitation program, he has had several opportunities to exhibit his creative work in local galleries.
“My newest drawing is Solar Powered Boat,” says Chad. His pen illustration is a nautical scene which at first glance, appears to be a dot-to-dot drawing. “Feel the drawing,” he suggests. Each dot is a tiny puncture in the canvas of foam core, and the drawing is meant to be touched. In the past few years as Chad’s vision has faded, his artwork has gravitated toward textural and kinetic expressions, including sculpture. “The boat has pinwheels, and energy, and a bathroom kit, and it can land on water or the ground,” he adds.
When asked about his other art projects, Chad says, “I want my own songs,” while opening his iPad. He launches the Garageband app and begins to scroll through a long list of songs he has created, finally selecting a song called Big Blue Remix. He pushes the PLAY button and a beat begins, followed shortly by a dual vocal track featuring Chad himself:
Talkin’ ‘bout remix,
Talkin’ ‘bout remix,
Talkin’ big blue remix… New York Giants…
They lift weights and train all day,
In a team, that’s the only way!
Talkin’ ‘bout remix…
The song celebrates a few local sports teams, their fans, and important games against rivals. To make his songs, Chad records multi-track compositions, adding both vocal and drum beat tracks, which can be repeated on a timeline.
“I write the songs and send them to Kyle [AHRC NYC staff member] in a text message,” says Chad. “We decide which words we don’t want to use and we take those out. We add new words. We use rhymes in the song, and then we fix it up.”
Community Support Professional, Kyle Farrell, supports Chad’s musical efforts by providing technological assistance when needed. The relationship is part of the Individualized Technologies Strategies-Balanced Incentive Project, (ITS-BIP,) a relatively new AHRC NYC initiative that pairs people receiving services with technological devices and support staff, to provide individualized opportunities for people to explore new technologies.
Chad’s newfound fondness for writing music hasn’t prevented him from continuing to make physical artwork. “My next sculpture will be called Rollercoaster Bridge,” he says. Chad’s plan is to create something similar to his earlier sculpture, Rollercoaster House, which was made from recyclable materials. For his new bridge sculpture, Chad plans to incorporate a seesaw, monkey bars, and an exercise space. “No one ever built a rollercoaster bridge before, and it’ll be cool for the kids!”
When asked why he has chosen to make use of so many different media as he creates, Chad explains, “I do art. I do drawing. I do sculpture. I do painting. I’m making big projects.”
You can listen to Chad’s music by visiting his Soundcloud page.
AHRC New York City is proud to celebrate Chad’s creative work, and the works of many other people with disabilities who are finding new ways to express their creativity.