ADHD peers #issue 1: Chris Shopland

It’s ADHD Awareness month and I wanted to use the power of my platform to promote other ADHD peers. I want people to see what us ADHDers get up to and how we are really just like everyone else but with extra challenges to work through.

– Extempore Art

Hi, I’m Chris and I am an artist from Bristol, UK. I go under the name ‘Extempore Art’ which means unplanned or with little preparation in latin. I create intuitive, (mostly) unplanned, usually emotionally driven embodied art – which is an extension of myself. I also have ADHD. I only found out last year, but it made sense and has been the answer to why my life, was my life, up till this point.

While I don’t tend to stick to one subject or medium and often change subject, using whatever the idea requires. There are a few natural recurring themes and I often stick to acrylic. My style is quite expressive, acrylic lends itself well to this. I will cover up mistakes, scrape it off, add more, scrape it off and enjoy the texture and the nature of the paint as I go. Sometimes thinking “what would this subject be feeling right now?”. I then keep going until I’m happy with the end result. My process is not a conscious one anyway. That being said, I do have a toolkit of techniques I use and I have collected new ones over the years. I like to keep exploring new ways to create art.

I paint cosmos space figures to show our place in the universe, but also to explore what is is like to feel different growing up. I felt like an alien, not meant for this planet at times and misunderstood. While that has changed and I now understand myself much better being more confident in who I am, and interacting more easily with those around me (connecting better to others), I still feel different at times.

I paint wolves for their mystery and grace, versus their aggressive nature. I like this contradiction. Also for their need to find a new pack and be a lone wolf for a while. There is a lot of spirituality around them with their love of the moon. They also just look majestic and wonderful to try and paint. My style being stylised, I often call them my warped wolves. I hope to create more of the warped wolves for a series. I haven’t thought what to call my three larger wolves yet, they are less warped and more wolf like.

I am still early in my art career. I may have only sold a small amount but I have begun to be invited and accepted at more events such as art battles and Upfest street art festival (I would be using acrylics rather than spray paint). While I wasn’t able to paint at Upfest this year due to social distancing, it will be a real celebration of art and life when it can be rescheduled.

I also took part in an interview “Artist conversation” with Rickylee from the Hansway collective during lock down. It was my first experience of an Instagram live. I was so nervous! Since then I have had another Instagram live on my own feed and started a Youtube channel. It is all new and I am still learning what makes a good video. I am however enjoying this new way to show myself as an artist.

I believe art can change the world. I am always open to opportunities that allow my art to go beyond a nice image on the wall; and it to truly mean something to someone or many people. I am proud to be a part of the ADHD community, although I am still finding it difficult to talk about my ADHD on art feeds. I would like to thank Jenn for this opportunity, and anyone can feel free to message me if they have any questions.

Many thanks,


Check out more of what Chris is up to and give him a follow to show some support!



Published by Jenn has ADHD

Jenn Parker, New Zealand. ADHD Advocate and Peer.

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