Her Story

      Heather Frietas states that she has been drawing ever since she could remember. It wasn't until Junior year of High School when she asked her parents to co-sign for a vehicle that she would end up taking art classes. Her parents told her that they would only co-sign for a car for her if she would sign up for classes in art at school....so she did. She states that many classes in High School bored her because they didn't challenge her enough, but that changed when she took her fist art class.

    As a child she always loved drawing and even remembered when she was young saying that she wanted to be an artist when she grew up. When she took her first class she found an even greater passion than before within the arts and after her first "semester" she knew that art was something that would always be in her life.

  She states this moment came after only her second art assignment. She remembers it vividly. It was a charcoal assignment ( not her favorite media she had ever used ) and while the teacher went to each student one by one handing out a white piece of paper and a black piece of charcoal when the teacher got to Freitas she handed her a black piece of paper and a white piece of charcoal. "Drawn in reverse" the teacher said. Freitas looked up at her so confused. "How am I supposed to do that?!" As Freitas stared blankly at the black piece of paper in front of her the teacher simply said "I don't know, figure it out" and walked away.

    This was the moment that changed everything for her. It was the moment she was challenged not only with the task ahead of her, but challenged to look at art with a new set of eyes, and with those eyes, creation itself. As she worked her way through this piece she found a new passion that she had never explored before.

    So for her two remaining years in High School she took as many art classes as she could and when time came to apply for college she looked back towards her childhood dreams and in front of her with her with a newly formed passion and decided to go to college for art. One thing that always stuck with her was her teachers thoughts on the art world. "You will never make it as an artist until you do something you have never done before." That very statement would stick with her forever. She thought, how is that possible? Everything has always been done, has already been created.

    Not knowing or understanding this it only fueled her forward. With that her teacher told her in a serious manner. "If you have a collector, and they walk into a room where there are 100 different pieces of artwork by 100 different artists your collector should be able to walk into that room without ever having seen the piece you put into that room before and be able to pick it out instantly from the other 99 works." It was with these lessons Freitas would start her journey.

    After being accepted into a few art colleges Freitas decided to take her journey back to Arizona and attend ASU's Herberger's Institute of art. As she turned 18 and graduated High School she traveled to Arizona with only $300 and a car that became inoperable on her journey south in Gallup New Mexico. She worked full time and went to college. Because Freitas was funding her own education she decided to start at a community college where she would obtain a General Associates and an Associates in Fine Arts.

    It was at community college where she would be challenged by an instructor again. This time in her color theory course. She remembers the assignment clearly and the instructor was one of intimidation. The class was tasked with an assignment of creating a piece divided into 6 sections each with a different monochromatic color palette. Before starting the piece the instructor had to approve the image each student would be painting from. Freitas chose a Zebra.

    Her instructor would not sign off on the image. "You can not do a monochromatic color palette from a black and white object" she stated" It will not work, you need to pick another image." At this point Freitas was always looking for ways to do things out of the box ( always with that message from her High School teacher in her head). "I don't care, i'm going to do it, I can do it. "Freitas said firmly. Her professor looked at her, not willing to argue and said "Fine, do it but you're going to fail the assignment." So she did it anyways.

    When critique rolled around and the time came to present her piece to the class and her instructor Freitas was uncertain of the response she that she would get from her professor. For one thing many would never challenged or stand up to this professor as so many were intimidated by her. The first thing the professor said, to the class, to Freitas was "I hate to say it, but you were right, you did it." Freitas would receive an A on this project. Another moment that has always stuck with her.

The Zebra from this exact assignment.


  As she gradated community college and continued her journey forward to ASU's Herberger Institute of Art she would have one thing drilled into her head the entire time. Every single professor would tell their classes that it was impossible to make it as a professional artist and that upon graduation they should search for a career within the arts. She often thought, why would they have a college art degree available and tell everyone it wasn't possible? So instead she took every art class possible still searching for the "thing" that had never been done before. The style that was unique to herself.

    She would take fibers, printmaking, fine art ( of course ), graphic design, welding, ceramics, you name it, she took it. Then in 2014 she would finally graduate college. As that chapter neared an end after working full time and going to college for seven years she didn't know what to do. Where to go. So she simply continued to work and applied to museums and gallery's. Nothing.

    For a few years she lost hope. She tried building a couple art businesses and failed. She resided to working her way up the corporate ladder. She would go through many life altering traumas during this time but nothing like what was about to come, and shape her future forever.

    After dealing with domestic violence for years Freitas found herself free from a toxic relationship. After a year she found an amazing partner but her past of domestic abuse would sabotage the relationship she was in. As it ended she was overflown with emotions. Sadness. Hate. Confusion. How would she be able to live life again without always looking for the flaws to protect herself? In 2016 for the first time instead of painting from a picture Freitas painted from her heart. She painted her emotions with no intent of it becoming anything other than for her to find words for feelings she did not have words for.

    This piece is titled Bargaining and it would be the piece that would lead her to where she is today. As she finished this piece she looked down at it with a feeling she had never had before. She knew that this was it. It was her style and she states that it felt as if she had a child. "It was just this overwhelming feeling of knowing this piece was it. It was the style I had been search for since 2005. It was like it was inside me the whole time, it just took me looking within to create it, not looking at photos to find it."

  Freitas had 5 canvas panels so decided to continue the collection and create a collection centered around the healing process. She would post a process photo on her facebook page one day and a gallery reached out asking her to enter it into the Surprise, AZ Recycled Arts Festival. So she finished the collection and had her first official art show. She would win second place in show. This only fueled her forward.

Her work 'Denial" a part of her Healing Process collection of which she would win second in show at the Surprise Recycled Art Festival.


  Freitas would continue to create now with a fire like never before. She would get a few group exhibitions and then soon solo exhibitions at an accelerating rate. She was fueled by excitement but soon this would change yet again. Freitas would have to face the possibility of death.

  "One day changed everything" Freitas said. "I was told after a biopsy came back bad that I would have to have rush surgery. After healing from that undergo a from of chemotherapy for 6 weeks. The issue with it was the possibility of it spreading fast and the inability to remove the affected area if all this didn't work." It was the waiting that was the worst for Freitas and it kept her up at night. She was only 26.

  "I remember one night laying up in bed and just having this scary but very clear thought." she says. I asked myself, "If I die in 6 months what am I going to regret most about my life?". She realized then that it wasn't not having a child, not traveling, not getting married or having a partner. If she died in 6 months her biggest regret would have been not giving it her all for at least trying to become a professional artist. "If I was on my death bed and I knew that at least I tried my hardest, gave it my all to make my dream come true to be professional artist I would die peacefully. I didn't even have to achieve it , I just simply had to know I tried with every fiber of my being." Freitas states deep in thought. So she did just that.

  That moment. That thought. That experience. It changed everything. She would work full time 40 hours a week and spend literally every single waking hour outside of her full time job working on her art. Painting, Researching. Reading more, researching. She was consumed with this. She didn't party, didn't date. She hardly even saw friends. Soon her results would come back showing it worked but for another 4 years every year the cells would continue to show altered and require a biopsy always reminding her of her promise to herself and the fuel to sacrifice everything to ensure a peaceful end.

    Freitas would go on to create over 500 paintings from 2016 to 2018 and as she would sell more, secure solo exhibitions, museum exhibitions and more she would become sick once again. This time it was nothing new to her as Freitas had been in and out of hospitals for an undiagnosed issue since she was a child, however whatever she had been living and fighting with as a child continued to grow and get worse. So as she was slowly reducing her hours at her day job and supplementing her income with her art it would be her sickness that would change her path, yet again.

    "I would get these almost panic attack like episodes almost as if I was just in a car accident up to 5 times a day. I thought it was stress. It seriously started affecting my life so much, it was hard to go out in public even" she states. "I went to doctors and they told me it was in my head, then they thought it was PTSD, so I thought it was too." She would deal with this for 6 months before it affected her life so much she had to take a leave of absence from work. It was this moment that forced her to support herself with her work for over 6 months having no roommates, no significant other and no one to help her through this time. She didn't have a choice. She had to do it.

  After 6 months in 2019 ( the month she turned 30 ) Freitas took the leap of faith and resigned from her now part time job not knowing when she would be able to go back. "I was scared. I was so scared, but I also couldn't go back, I just kept getting worse. It didn't matter I had to literally work around the clock to ensure my art would support me because that's all I had anyways. That's all I could do because I couldn't leave the house" she says.

    Due to being so sick Freitas slowly stopped exhibiting in galleries and had to find a way to make sales another way, so she turned back to social media. From this, as we speak, Freitas has grown a community of almost 55,000 followers, fans and collectors around the world. She would also go on to finally get diagnosed with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome after 20 years of being sick. Finding out that her panic attack like episodes were in reality near constant episodes of anaphylaxis.

  "It's all these trials that I have been through that have made me who I am today. It was the darkness that became so heavy it turned into a diamond. There will be more hurdles in my life but it is these hurdles that continue to shape my work and the direction of it. My work isn't just painting from pictures like it was for so long. It is about my life, my experiences. My work is about feelings and experiences that don't have words and it is about healing. All of it is about healing." Freitas states.

  It's clear to see her heart in every piece. It clear to see the message, the intent. From the issues close to her heart, the humor she uses to heal and the profound affect it is having on those around her and the community she has created. "Many claim social media to be a curse but the more I learn about myself, the more I share about myself, the more a beautiful, wonderful and supportive community emerges within it." she says.

  It's clear to see why so many have joined together and have been inspired by and healed by her work. It's the magic that was created from trauma. It's the realness that Freitas emits. In a world of curated feeds Freitas is filled with real life obstacles and issues we all face on a daily basis. Freitas connects with people not only with her heart and authenticity but with the works she creates from it.

  Her passion for art is contagious and only continues to grow. It is her life and her breath so much so it is every fiber of her being, her life literally revolves around it. Even now, Christmas night, as we work together to finish this bio all that is on her mind is connecting. Connecting with those who support her. Her olive branch to those who think they are alone with her work being the reminder that there is beauty and hope no matter where you look. She is driven and will stop at nothing to seed the world with what she calls her "magic "( artwork). " There is noting more healing in this world than art. Without art I would not be where I am today. Just like art gave me the ability to speak, and continue to speak about things that have no words, art has the ability to connect with people better than words." she says.

  Her journey is just starting and as we speak Freitas has created over 1000 original paintings, 710 of which have SOLD in 5 years. We hope you find strength in her story. We hope you find healing and laughter within her work. We hope that you see the beauty around you. If you would like to purchase a work of art created by Freitas please head to the home page to explore all she has to offer. It is because of your support that Freitas has been able to and will continue to be able to paint full time and seed the world with her magic.

  We hope her story comes at a time that it inspires you. We hope this story comes at a time to heal you. We hope this story connects with you.

    Sincerely,

            Heather Freitas Gallery