Wes Freed

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Wes Freed (born April 25, 1964) is a Richmond, Virginia-based outsider artist whose works have appeared on the album covers of numerous American rock bands, including Cracker, Lauren Hoffman, and the Drive-By Truckers.[1]

Life[edit]

Wes Freed grew up on a cattle farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. In interviews, Freed has stated the feel and look of this area inspired most of his landscapes and many of the characters who appear in his paintings and comics. Freed has cited Hieronymus Bosch, Francisco Goya, and Edward Gorey as influences to his eerily disturbing country landscapes. "They don't have a negative aspect to me," Freed stated. "There's kind of a peace and quietude to things that others might think of as unnerving." Regarding more traditional suburban scenes, Freed added, "I'd rather see an overgrown hayfield with a dead tree in it."

Concerning one of his recurring themes, Freed stated he was about seven years old he ran across a DuPont safety magazine that featured a drawing of a bottle-wielding, bowler hat wearing skeleton driving a roadster. He became so enamored of the idea of a boozy hot-rod driving skeleton, that he's been painting variations on that theme ever since.

In the mid-1980s, Freed attended Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, where he earned a degree in Painting and Printmaking.

Freed later married and divorced several times, while playing guitar and singing with bands such as Mudd Helmut, Dirtball, and The Shiners.

Drive-By Truckers[edit]

Freed's relationship with the band started in the mid-90s, when Freed was touring with his now-defunct group, Dirtball, a critically acclaimed band that Allmusic.com called "alt-country at its finest." Freed saw the young Truckers band at a festival in Georgia and said to himself, "My God, these guys are somethin' else." Freed and his band mates asked the Truckers to play the Capital City Barn Dance, a monthly series of alt-country shows they put on at various venues in Richmond in the 1990s, and a friendship was born. Freed has illustrated every album cover for the band since 2000's Southern Rock Opera.

In particular, Freed's moonlit paintings have become synonymous with the band, and his work has appeared on their posters and t-shirts. According to DBT lead singer and guitarist Patterson Hood, "As far as I'm concerned, he will do DBT covers as long as there's a DBT."

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Drive-By Truckers artist Wes Freed rocks Floyd art center". www.roanoke.com. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

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