FREDA Girl: Codie O'Connor

Please tell us who you are and what you do?

My name is Codie O’Connor and I am an abstract painter based in Austin, Texas.

What is your background? How did you get started in art?

My mom is also an artist, a painter, and as a kid, I spent a lot of time on her studio floor creating whatever I felt like that day. I’ve tried a handful of mediums, but painting was always the medium I would come back to. I earned a BFA in Arts Management at The College of Charleston, which was essentially studio and art history classes mixed with business classes- utilizing both sides of the brain. My end goal was to work in a gallery when I graduated which I was able to do. I just wanted to be surrounded by art every day, install exhibitions, and eventually dive into curating. After leaving my gallery job I spent several months backpacking through SouthEast Asia before returning home to Austin. I was hired to paint a series for a small business, and suddenly commission orders started rolling in. Eventually, I built my own series to release, began painting murals, and was able to support myself through my work. I never saw painting as a future career because it was just something I have always done, but if I really look back I can connect the dots and it all makes sense.

YOU HAVE SUCH A DISTINCT STYLE  + COLOR PALETTE, WHERE DO YOU YOUR INSPIRATION FROM FOR YOUR PIECES

Thank you! I am really drawn to warm earthy tones and organic shapes and lines. In the past, I’ve been inspired to create paintings based on conversations I’ve had with friends, vintage photos from the ’70s, lyrics in a song, and natural textures found all around us. Inspiration really is everywhere, I just try to stay open to it all! 

 

Describe your personal style. Do you have a certain look that is your go-to?

My personal style is laid back. I am always on the hunt for great vintage pieces, while trying to keep my closet pretty minimal. Over the last couple of years, I have tried to curate my closet into a color palette, I’m not totally there yet but I would say in my dream closet there isn't any waste, everything gets worn is made ethically, and everything works well together. My go-to look would be messy hair, vintage denim overalls with a great tee underneath. 

WHAT ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW?

I’m currently rereading Dharma Bums and occasionally flipping through Earth Apples, a collection of poems by writer and naturalist Edward Abbey. 

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?

Music plays a huge role in my life, especially right now when everything feels a bit...off. The studio album, “Odetta Sings Folk Songs” by Odetta is a solid go-to, Twain’s album “Rare Feeling” is nice to listen to when I’m on a bike ride or a walk around the neighborhood and the album “Exotica” by Martin Denny is fun to listen to when I’m having a glass of wine and making dinner. Neil Young is always in the mix too.

 

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION AND HOW DO YOU STAY INSPIRED? 

I find inspiration from traveling, nature, books, shadows, plants - really the everyday stuff in my life. I have to be honest, I felt totally burnt out at the beginning of quarantine, it was really difficult for me to feel inspired. I tried my best not to put too much pressure on needing to create and took a step back from my work to let it breathe. Taking this time to step back and reassess really brought on a new wave of inspiration I’m really excited about. I would say listening to yourself and actually putting those paintbrushes *insert whatever it is you’re working on* down is hugely important for my practice in order to stay inspired.

 

 

Do you have any advice for other artists?

It is so hard not to be your own worst critic. Notice when you’re being overly critical of your work, and step away when this is happening. Most importantly create the things that make you feel most authentically “you”- you’re the only one who can share this point of view, this just got so cheesy, but truly no one can do that better than you!

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