From Fast-Paced to Legal Addictions

Legal Addictions exhibit
September 16, 2019

Adam Spaeth led a fast-paced life: in the Navy he worked with a surgeon on his ship, then he went to SCTCC for the Paramedicine program to become an EMT.

During the downtime during his time as an EMT, he brought his art materials and painted, something he’s been doing since he was a kid.

After his daughter was born, he slowed down and took on painting full time. Now his exhibit, “Legal Addictions,” is on display city-wide in St. Cloud.

“Being an EMT helped this project,” said Spaeth, gesturing at his artwork. “Legal Addictions is about some of the stuff that I saw on the ambulance. We have the best emergency care but some of the worst preventative.”

Spaeth’s exhibit features artwork on smoking, caffeine, alcohol, eating, working, and video games, all of which are legal but are addictions our society faces. As an EMT, he saw a lot of these addictions affect people’s quality of life.

“These paintings are about addictions and some are about how we pass on our addictions to our family. I wanted people to come look at the art and think about [the addictions], and how they might impact their life,” Spaeth explained.

The exhibit is featured through the end of September across seven locations in St. Cloud: St. Cloud Library, St. Cloud Hospital, YMCA, White Horse Restaurant, Cream City Tattoo, and E-Cig Lounge. The push behind the different locations was to encourage people to walk from place to place.

“People think that to change their addictions, they need to do some extreme things. Really it’s just making a meal for yourself one night or hanging out with their friends and going for a walk,” Spaeth said. “That’s what I really wanted to promote.”

Spaeth’s career choice as an EMT was prompted by a suggestion from the surgeon he worked with in the Navy. After he left the Navy, he used the GI bill to start the Paramedicine program at SCTCC.

“When I first got there, all the instructors went above and beyond,” Spaeth said. “Anita Baugh really helped me out with the GI Bill. I appreciate her help transitioning from the military to college.”

Keeping with the fast-paced theme, he worked in both Brainerd and Monticello as an EMT. He recommends anyone taking the Paramedicine program to job shadow in both rural and urban settings as they’re very different to make sure that being on an ambulance is really the right choice.

The SCTCC class that he still uses every day? His 2D design class. Spaeth has always been interested in art, and now that he’s doing it professionally, he paints every day, sharing a paint table with his daughter.

But he’s not settling into painting 100% yet. Spaeth is currently working in behavioral support at Tech High School to see if he wants to pursue teaching. “I love it. It’s only been two weeks and I can already see changes in students.”

His love for painting and art won’t be stopped by a career in another field, fast-paced or not.

“My daughter is the reason I got really good at art. I was used to a fast-paced life – I worked on a ship, and then I worked on an ambulance. She taught me how to stop and slow down and be patient.”

More information on the Legal Addictions Art Exhibit

Spaeth video

Adam Spaeth Interview (1:54)

Kate Wallace