Cody Freeman (b.1989) is a fine artist currently living and working in San Antonio, Texas. After studying graphic design at the San Antonio Art Institute, Freeman continued to experiment with painting and pursue a self taught artistic practice. Freeman’s work lives in a realm of its own where figurative and abstraction can coexist harmoniously. Freeman incorporates the human figure, text, religious iconography, and abstraction to tell a narrative of Mexican life in America.
Having grown up on the southside of San Antonio, the largest majority-Hispanic city, Freeman is no stranger to the disadvantages of being from an impoverished area. Freeman was the oldest of two siblings from working class parents that would eventually divorce when Freeman was 14. Like other families in the area, Freeman had less access to wealth and opportunity being in a racially and economically segregated city.
Freeman was an artistic child. He was first introduced to art through cartoons as a kid then comic books, skateboard graphics and graffiti. Freeman began drawing at an early age. He started with his own interpretations of his favorite comic characters and would even draw portraits of family members. As life went on, Freeman found another interest in skateboarding being drawn in by the detailed skateboard graphics and rebellious lifestyle. By the time his parents divorced, Freeman had the freedom to skateboard throughout the city at his leisure and this is when he found a fascination with the graffitti he was seeing everyday.
Entering adulthood, Freeman finds himself aimlessly working odd jobs to make ends meet. Not only was a stable career absent but also was a lack of purpose. Freeman began abusing alcohol and becoming out of touch with reality. Eventually Freeman becomes unemployed and dependent upon alcohol.
It was not until Freeman was 28 that he picked up a paintbrush for the first time. Now with a fiance and 2 children to provide for, whil
e still unemployed, Freeman decides to enroll at the San Antonio Art Institute. This is where Freeman would discover his passion for painting and renew his love for art while simultaneously battling an alcohol addiction. Freeman started finding the purpose he was searching for with the art he was producing but alcohol was still affecting his personal life. Alcoholism is passed down like family tradition but Freeman made the decision to be the one to break the generational curse and got sober. Now with a new focus and purpose, Freeman establishes his own artistic practice through acrylic painting. What started as a way to counter alcoholism has transformed into a career that allows Freeman to produce numerous works that would eventually go on to be acquired by various collectors.
Freeman’s goal is to raise awareness of the Mexican American diaspora and change the narrative of Mexican people through figurative art. Freeman’s paintings serve as a conduit for faith, grief and mortality with an emphasis on representation for the Mexican people. Freeman’s work addresses social injustices bestowed upon the Mexican people in America and speaks to the scars remaining from a blood soaked history that goes disregarded.
Freeman’s work is autobiographical, often referencing old family photos and history books to create depictions of everyday life and celebrate the under-represented and shed a light on ignored history.
Freeman has been quoted saying “You have to stop caring what it looks like and make a meaningful painting.”