A Healing Palette

Heather Freitas is a graduate of Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute of Art, but more importantly, she’s a Phoenix-based artist who tackles everything from feminist icons to desert iconography, always combining her unique post-pointillist style of painting with eye-popping colors and fanciful materials. She creates and markets her original artwork via social media (@heather_freitas) and her website, and she’s quickly becoming one of the most recognized artists in the valley. Freitas is not only passionate about making art, but she views the process as a healing one, something that she strives to share with others.

WOD: When did you first become interested in art & painting?
Freitas: I have always been creative and drawn toward art, and my parents are the ones who encouraged me to continue art through high school. I remember one art class where the teacher had everyone do a black and white drawing and had me do an inverted piece. That challenge sparked my interest and made me want to see what else I could create.

WOD: What inspires you to create?
Freitas: I am at a point where anything and everything I do is connected to my art now. With my social media and webpage, I am marketing myself and interacting with the community, so my life is really centered around art and creating.

WOD: What’s your favorite piece and why?
Freitas: My favorite piece is not necessarily my favorite aesthetically, but the process and the healing that I felt while making it made it my favorite. I am proud of the finished product, but the planning and creating of the piece was incredibly healing.

WOD: How does your love for art translate into your everyday life?
Freitas: Well, my everyday life is art! I am always creating, sharing, or marketing my art through social media. The social media aspect is one of the biggest parts of my everyday life because I am marketing my artwork and myself to a vast audience.

WOD: What do you love most about your craft?
Freitas: I love the healing that art provides for me. I also love the challenge that creating different pieces presents—I am able to make unique pieces that not only help me heal but can give positive perspectives to other people, too.

WOD: How have you stayed involved in the arts of the community over the past year?
Freitas: Social media has given me a strong platform to connect with others, even before COVID. It is so important for an artist to know how to market their work because they are their own best advocate. I have worked to create a really honest and positive environment on my social media, so I think it can be really useful, depending on your perspective.

WOD: How do you think living in Arizona has influenced you as an artist?
Freitas: I really love the desert. I have lived in Arizona my whole life, so I have come to appreciate the desert, too. I think that the nature in Arizona really shows the resilience of the state, too. Even though it is hot, everything flourishes and thrives. There is nature and life blooming everywhere.

WOD: What kind of impact do you think your work has?
Freitas: I think that for me, again, art is very healing and therapeutic. For others, I think that my art can create comfort and positivity. For example, when I started painting pieces of bodies, it helped me see myself and my own body in a more positive light, and I think that the same could be said for others who see my art. I want to make a positive impact on others and I think my art helps me do that.