Nico is the father of 7-year-old Cayden, an abstract painter who is also autistic. They live in Johannesburg, South Africa, where it is very expensive to keep Cayden in his special needs school. They needed to find a way to generate income to support Cayden’s needs. After some research, they heard about NFTs on TikTok, so they decided to learn more about the NFT ecosystem and have been a part of it since April 2022.
Cayden has used art as a form of communication since he was 2, thanks to an art therapist. When he paints to communicate, the colors represent specific feelings. Red is angry, green is rejuvenation, blue is depressed, black is uncertainty, and the list goes on and on. But when he is creating an idea or concept, the colors are just that, colors.
His paintings are usually a form of expression or from moments in his life. Nico told me about the painting “Desert.” Cayden was learning about deserts in school, where they are, and how they form and created some pieces in a certain color palette.
Another painting we spoke about was the Nasty Robots series. This time, Cayden was learning about and using robotics in school. He told Nico that some of the robots were naughty because they wouldn’t do what he wanted them to. He has created many paintings in that series.
Cayden is involved in the NFT ecosystem. He has certain artists that he follows and gets inspired by. He has been doing some collaborations and commissioned work.
His favorite NFT artist is Speaker Jill. They have also collaborated.
His all-time favorite artist is Vincent van Gogh, especially his “Starry Night.”
His favorite color is blue, all shades.
There are days when Cayden struggles to find his words, and has to revert to using art to communicate, but lately, that hasn’t happened too much. On occasion, he can get obsessive around a concept and will produce many, many paintings.
“He uses art as a form of expression, a diary of sorts, and it evolves daily,” Nico said.
Cayden primarily works with acrylic paint on canvas. He likes the way it feels, smells and sounds when he is applying the paint to the canvas. It’s a sensory experience.
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