Inside the Studio

Ed Freeman

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

I’m fascinated by any number of ways of seeing – from pure, detached observation, to total abstraction – but one common denominator in my work is that I’m interested in fundamentally uninteresting things. I love to discover beauty and significance in subjects that might normally go unappreciated.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

“First, learn your theory. Then forget all that shit and play.” –  attributed variously to John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, and a host of others. Spoken about jazz, but profoundly true for every art form.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?

It varies. I can go for weeks at a time working in total silence. Then I’ll binge out on Hawaiian slack-key guitar or Afro-Pop or Renaissance consort music for days on end. I love both music and silence equally.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?

“Piper” by Eugene Harris — it was used as the theme picture for The Family of Man exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1955. I first saw it when I was twelve years old and I’ve loved it ever since. For me, it’s the most joyful, life-affirming picture I’ve ever seen.

Who are your favorite writers?

Kurt Vonnegut and Ernest Hemingway – specifically, The Sirens of Titan and The Old Man and the Sea are my idea of perfection in writing.