Local artist Ellie Freund finds inspiration in her thoughts, feelings

Visual art has been an interest of local artist Ellie Freund as far back as she can remember. As a child, painting rocks was her favorite way to pass the time. As she got older, creative expression continued to be a theme of her formative years, through both art and creative writing.

A Montoursville Area High School graduate, Freund later studied philosophy at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She currently lives in Loyalsock Township.

Though art has always been a part of Freund’s life, beginning in college that side of her began to take on a much greater significance.

“Looking back, art was and continues to be highly influenced by philosophy and was probably another method of processing all these abstract and sometimes strange ideas or ways of thinking that I was immersed in with my philosophy studies,” Freund said. “As time goes on, it seems like the creative urge is only growing stronger and becoming more routine than ever. Mostly, I think my art is influenced by philosophy, spirituality, dreams, music, mysticism, sexuality and nature.”

In Williamsport, Freund has exhibited her work in the Pajama Factory, The Sawhorse Cafe, Barrel 135, Le Chocolate and The Harvest Emporium and Gallery/Williamsport Frame Shop, where a collection of her prints are always available.

Freund’s work has also been featured at The Parliament Arts Organization in York, The Northern Appalachian Folk Festival in Indiana, and galleries Pittsburgh. She has also collaborated with the Franchesko Marx Band recently to develop the artwork featured on their EP that was released earlier this year.

“As for upcoming stuff, I am focusing on publishing an art book,” Freund said. “It’s sort of a coffee table art/poetry type of thing, and I am working on the illustrations for that.”

Most of Freund’s work is paint on canvas, for which she uses a lot of vibrant colors and likes to incorporate a lot of symmetry.

“I like to work these folky types of patterns into unexpected places,” she said. “It has a sort of illustrative and whimsical feel to it.”

Frequently, Freund’s paintings contain heavy symbolism in the imagery. Her own process of creating her art is usually sparked by something she has read in a book or heard in a song.

“I usually create it late at night in my home when the rest of the world seems to have settled down,” she said. “I get cozied up with my cats and just sit down with a glass of wine and some good music and paint for hours and hours.”

Freund doesn’t typically favor any one of her paintings over the others she has made. Her favorite is usually whatever piece she is currently working on at the time. Freund usually makes one or two paintings each week, and they are always changing.

“I don’t really favor them or get attached to them after I have finished painting them,” she said. “Just in that moment of creating, I am attached or fixated on a certain idea or concept; and so I am fully consumed in that particular piece. And then after a day or two, I will be entertaining, processing, meditating on some other thought that has sort of temporarily taken over.”

Quite often, it’s words — quotes from books or poems, or sometimes lyrics from songs — that Freund will read or hear, and the message inspires an urge to connect those words to her visual interpretation of them.

“I’m also very inspired by nature and outer space,” she said. “I’m deeply inspired by my dreams and their messages, and I try to journal my dreams. And the ones that stick with me, I like to paint.”

For Freund, the process of creating visual art is mainly driven towards expression. It’s an exploration of her own thoughts and feelings. Painting and creating a visual and tangible version of her thoughts or feelings is therapeutic. Simply put, painting is what she loves to do.

“I am not necessarily motivated by the idea of achieving an end result or finished piece, but I just love the process of the ‘doing,'” she said. “It helps me to focus on whatever thoughts are surfacing and need to get out. What I hope to achieve with art and with others is to provoke thoughts or feelings within them — let them embrace some of the weirdness we all have in us and entertain those types of obscure pieces of our consciousness that too often get repressed or ignored.”