Anthony Freda’s art is a flower in the barrel of a shotgun but a bullet in the mouth of politics. He is fearless and fierce and years from now, when we look back on this moment in history, his art will be an accurate snapshot. A picture of what we should never forget lest history repeat itself. Anthony Freda’s work has been published in the New Yorker, Time Magazine, and Rolling Stone.
Ara: What was your earliest piece of work?
Anthony: When I was about five, I handed my dad a drawing I made while sitting in front of the tv ( like a good citizen) that appeared to be scribbles.It was actually a detailed rendering of the interference on our black and white television.
Ara: When did you realize that you were a political and societal artist?
Anthony: I was always attracted to imagery that contained social commentary. Nature and nurture made my immersion in the genre inevitable.
Ara: Describe your art with a film.
Anthony: Any film that uses dark, ironic humor to expose the pathology and deceptions that form the foundation of wars. Dr. Strangelove comes to mind.
Ara: How is an idea born? What inspires or pushes you to create?
Anthony: My work is a labor of hate. When I see our leaders manipulating people’s patriotism and their tribal instinct by using psychological warfare and by warping historical realities to convince the world that needless wars are justified, I get angry. My work is a way of channeling the passion I feel about these betrayals of the public trust into something that makes people question the official narrative. Propaganda is designed to make people hate and create consensual paranoia. My work is designed to make people think outside the narrow parameters defined by the establishment.
Ara: How important is art and photography in capturing the climate of society at a given point?
Anthony: It’s critical. Art distills the zeitgeist into expressions that a history book can never capture. It is the lasting legacy and definition of every age.
Ara: What would you have painted in the 60’s? How would you have captured the world at that time?
Anthony: I probably would have been a groovy,psychodellic, flower- power-antiwar poster artist.
Ara: What hasn’t changed in 50 years? What has?
Anthony: We are still being lied to and treated like children by the power elite. The great difference is that now we have a leveraged voice to speak truth to power.There is an information war going on, and we all must join the battle. Fifty years ago, the top-down media defined reality for us, and all we could do was scream at the tv if we knew they were lying. I have decided to fight back by volunteering my services to alternative news sites that reach millions by and creating visual memes to counter the false narratives imposed upon us.
I also have started a podcast on Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox People’s Network and I do a series of political cartoons aptly titled “The Weekly Freda” for The Trends Journal.I don’t have delusions that my efforts are having a great effect, but it’s something. We all must do something.
Ara: Sum up your view of the world in one sentence.
Anthony: History is at war with Truth.
Ara: What is the most beautiful sound that you’ve never heard? What is the most beautiful sound that you’ve ever heard?
Anthony: Never- The words “War is over.” The silence of peace. Ever- The sound of my wife and son laughing.
Ara: How would you paint silence?
Anthony: I love when freshly fallen snow absorbs sound. I’d have to think about it more, but the image would include a snowman.
Ara: Choose one painting and give us the story behind it.
Anthony: I created “Don’t Tase Me, Bro” as a response to militarization of police, and the acceptance of torture into our culture. I painted the piece on a vintage wood cut out, because it reminded me of the carnival duck-shooting games where an endless supply of passive creatures present themselves as easy targets. I also like to work on found objects and American ephemera and re-purpose them with contemporary social commentary.