Sam De Freitas on the Physical and Metaphysical Genealogies Contained within his Queer Expressionist Paintings

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blue prescription by Sam De Freitas – oil, household paint and pastel on calico 

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Introducing Sam De Freitas born 1992. De Freitas is a British contemporary artist who works predominantly within the realms of painting. De Freitas graduated from Leeds College of Art in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art and has since moved back to his hometown of Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire.   As of 2020, De Freitas is part of an artist-led studio programme located at Pop^Up Scunthorpe, a gallery space in Scunthorpe’s town centre which was also co-founded by De Freitas in 2017. Sam’s current body of practice explores the honesty of mental health, chemical imbalance, substance abuse and sex, often rationalised through his synaesthesia, something Sam wasn’t aware of until he began to train classically as a pianist in 2010.
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G-sharp minor by Sam De Freitas – oil, household paint and charcoal on calico 

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My practice began as an expression of my own synaesthesia – a neurological condition which means my senses get mixed up.   It varies person to person but my own is based around sound, smell and colour. graduating-in-paint_origSince leaving university in 2016 feeling like I did not belong in the art world due to my very working-class background and carrying a shit body of work I hated, I spent all my time right up until late 2019 destroying and re-working these paintings until I could finally tolerate what they had become. Collecting these on-going episodes of mania and depression upon my pieces became my practice until they were finally exhibited in their current state for my solo show (Introducing: Sam De Freitas) at the 20-21 Visual Arts Centre in Scunthorpe.  After my solo exhibit in 2019, I realised my practice was problematic. It had taken me over 3 years to create just a handful of paintings I was content with, It simply didn’t fulfill my impatient need for instant gratification which is why I chose to be a painter in the first place. Working with virgin surfaces has allowed me to create raw and honest work at a much healthier rate.

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Geraniums
those geranium hanging baskets we nicked by Sam De Freitas – oil and household paint on calico

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Since moving back to my hometown, I have noticed a true hostility to people who don’t conform to the grey standards of life here. Upon telling people here that you’re an artist you’ll usually be met with confusion, aggression and disbelief followed with the usual “do you not have a real job?” “my fucking kids could do a better job than that” “you ought to man up and get ya’sen on the steel works” etc… My practice is naturally responding to this, along with the fights I have with my own brain on a daily basis – my afflictions with destruction and rebellion are apparent within the jarred and unsightly marks I make using an array to to-hand mediums that don’t always chemically belong. I see it as self-medicating, something I know I’m good at.

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my toilet sees the most beautiful colours when i'm coming down - oil, household paint, charcoal and pastel on canvas (un-stretched) - 154 x 104 (varying)
my toilet sees the most beautiful colours when i’m coming down by Sam De Freitas – oil, household paint, charcoal and pastel on canvas (un-stretched) – 154 x 104 (varying)

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Capture
Artist Sam De Freitas with artwork

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The closing image of Introducing Sam De Freitas
Exhibition View

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Palette 1 - pastel study on paper
Palette 1 by De Freitas – pastel study on paper

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In March 2020 De Freitas will be exhibiting a piece from his current practice (straight from the studio) to exhibition Queer Art(ists) Now2020 at the Archive Gallery, London alongside 80+ other queer artists and makers.

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To explore De Freitas’ works further please visit the artist’s website and Instragram.

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To explore more queer contemporary art please visit www.balaclavadotq.net.

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