Those who are unfamiliar with the term Duel Diagnosis is a multidisciplinary art collaboration focusing on mental health awareness (#traumakids) between Lifeafterdeath (Dave Navarro) and PADHiA (unfukyourself). If you'd like to learn more about Lifeafterdeath, check out our interview with them from a few years ago.
For the time being, let us begin by learning a little more about you, PADHiA. So, how did you two find up collaborating on art?
I was born and raised in New York, but moved to Los Angeles around ten years ago. I intended to work as a 3D character modeler in movies, have a "real" career, and live a "regular" life. I had a hidden blog at the time that was kind of about sadness and PTSD, but told from a more helpful perspective. Instead of seeing it as a horrible, disgusting illness, I'd write about it and describe it as an operating system that produces a contraction around your life force that you can heal from and carry on with your life in ways you wouldn't have otherwise. I was ashamed of the blog at the time, and it was written behind a pseudonym (@unfukyourself), but it gained a lot of attention. I was getting a lot of positive responses. It was incredible; the blog and stickers I designed for it went fully viral for years.
While all of this was going on, and I was in LA, I began to see all of the street art and had the thought, "WOW, what if I wasn't so ashamed of this?" What if I went in the opposite direction and blew up all of the messages and things I've been trying to help people understand and feel better about, and then started throwing them out on the street? So, every now and again, you get an idea that makes you feel alive in your cells, and you have to pursue it. That's very much what happened.
I met Dave a few years later because he had started creating street art and was working his way around the circle, and everyone was saying to me, "Oh, you should reach out to him." He's a great guy. You two would get along swimmingly.” But I wanted to wait and see if it happened naturally. I'm not going to like intruding into his personal life... like an art rapist. I started putting up pieces that read "love me anyways," and we both connected over that phrase, and it blossomed into a wonderful friendship and creative collaboration.
So that was the start of Duel Diagnosis, right? Could you give us a quick overview of the project? Because it's more than simply art, apparel, and installations; it's a movement?
(D) Yes, it's an apparel line, fine art, installations, and street art, but it's more of a movement in general, where we celebrate our individuality and even embrace some of the things we may find challenging in our lives and embrace them in such a way that we can flip the script on them and turn them into assets by simply not tying ourselves to the idea of shame.
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