Michael Madore (born 1954)
Michael Madore was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the eldest of seven children in a French-Canadian family. Madore, who has Asperger's Syndrome/atypical autism, started to draw maps and "steal 'how-to-assemble' diagrams" as a child as a way of coping with a chaotic family life and the social- and language-related traumas of starting kindergarten speaking "a kind of French that only my mother could understand." By first grade he spoke only in English inflected with a slight British accent that accompanied an all-consuming interest in geography and cartography. At the age of eight he had drawn and memorized all the islands off the coast of British Columbia and by twelve he was designing and planning the retail components of shopping mall "proposals" while acquiring a still active obsession with office market vacancy rates. As a teen he found refuge in radio playlists, orthographic projection drawing, etymology, weather statistics, and episodes of "My Favorite Martian" the 1960s television show. At Trinity College he double-majored in art history (focusing on medieval manuscript illumination and 19th century artists and illustrators such as William Dadd, Victor Hugo, and J.I. Grandville) and English (with an emphasis on psychoanalytic literary theory and writers such as Anna Kavan, Robert Walser, and Denton Welch). After graduating in 1977, Madore moved to New York where he first began to consciously make "art" while working as a typographic proofreader. He moved to New Haven in 1983 and for nearly a decade lived in an attic apartment where he "went arboreal" (meticulously cataloging a world populated by lemurs, birds, plant forms, and a host of forest, aquatic, and alien entities). In 1987, while hospitalized at Yale-New Haven Hospital, he took the advice of his psychiatrist and was admitted to the Yale MFA painting program. After graduating in 1990, Madore moved back to New York a year later where he continued making art while working as a medical editor and a writer on artists and topics such as synesthesia, tics, and ikebana. In 2001 he was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and became active with the autism community. In 2003 he began participating in a research study ("Social Cognition and Brain Volumes in Asperger Syndrome") at the NYU Center for Brain Health and is currently involved with illustrating a review article on "Brain Structures Implicated in Asperger Syndrome" as well as a poster exhibit ("Brain anatomy and symptomatology in autism spectrum conditions through the eyes of an autistic artist") at the International Meeting for Autism Research conference in Boston in May 2005. Madore continues to reside in New York and describes his new work as a combination of "neurobotany" and "Eurobabble." He is pleased to report that he was able to go unaccompanied to the city's first Home Depot "without incident."