Years ago, an artist who prided himself on being alternative to everything that the corporate media was selling you from your TV screen, was selling cigarettes to children. Anthony Freda, was a wide-eyed recent college graduate of Pratt University when he started his career in advertising, working on the Joe Camel campaign that has now become infamous for it’s manipulative undertones.
“I learned a lot about the reality of making pictures for a living, meeting crazy deadlines, demanding clients, and the power of the image as a tool of persuasion,” said Freda about his time on Madison Ave. “I was successful, but wanted to use my skills to sell something other than beer or cigarettes.”
Now, this New York based illustrator uses his creative skills to inspire political action and social change. As the mainstream weaponizes the information we receive, Freda has taken up arms with his art and begun to break down the walls that confine us.
“I want people to question the official narrative and recognize propaganda when they see it. We now know that the mainstream media was working with our government to disseminate the lies that took this country to war with Iraq, yet people still trust these same politicians, media, and intelligence agencies. I want my work to be a starting point for conversations outside of the narrow parameters defined by the establishment media. My work is always asking the simple question…”Why?!”
While his style is hard to pin down, Freda prides himself on being a “Visual Information Warrior.” Iconoclastic subjects illustrated in both real and surreal ways. One day he’ll be painting on an old chalkboard, the next creating a digital image, the next sculpting with fiberglass. While the medium changes, his message of “question everything, seek truth, resist the agenda” is ever present in his artwork.
As for his inspirations…
“There are so many geniuses out there it’s staggering and humbling. I’ve always been drawn to iconoclasts who challenge the status quo with courage, morality, and a bit of humor. As Oscar Wilde said, “If you are going to tell people the truth, you better make them laugh, or they will kill you.”