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Artist Spotlight: Freya Nates from Issue Three

Freya is an eighteen-year-old and the person behind Art by Freya! Having always been quite creative, taking Art as a subject up until A-level, she is now in her first year studying English Literature at the University of Edinburgh.

Freya started painting clothes around 2 years ago when she went shopping for tie-dye and ending up buying a set of fabric paints instead. At first, only her friends placed orders but during lockdown she decided to take her small business to the next level. With a grandpa who works in the clothing industry, she was generously gifted around 100 t-shirts which really made a huge difference. Then, she bought her first five tote bags and was off! Without that extreme amount of time in lockdown to focus on Art by Freya, her small business would definitely not be where it is today. 

Initially recreating well-known paintings, as time went on, the action of copying these paintings developed her skills and boosted her confidence to try out her own designs. Usually, painting whatever she's feeling like at the moment, whether it’s a gay froggy marriage proposal on a tote, nudes on a tee or dinosaurs on a pair of jeans. The vast variety in her projects is what makes her clothes unique as each piece is truly one of a kind and will likely not be painted again. 

Still trying to find her ‘style’, one thing her designs all have in common is that they showcase her love of colour and are happy clothes. So far, she has twice run a stall at Portobello Green Market in London which gave her the chance and delight to overhear people stopping to take a look at her clothes.

Another thing that Freya believes has developed her skills is custom orders! They are seldom designs that she would come up with and so they really push her away from her comfort zone. The most special commission was painting someone’s best friend’s wedding flowers on a sweatshirt where she combined a few photographs of flowers from the wedding, such as table centrepieces and her bouquet and turned them into a simple line drawing.

Her two favourite designs are frogs and dinosaurs. She wears her own pair of dinosaur jeans all the time and they always put her in an unstoppable mood (shown below).

All her clothes are all machine washable and come with washing instructions. She mixes a fabric medium into paint and heat sets each piece so they won’t crack or fade in the wash.