Wes Freed, Visual Artist for Drive-By Truckers Albums Died at 58
The Virginia creator’s ominous, gothic paintings work helped ship DBT data like Southern Rock Opera and The Dirty South to vivid life
WES FREED, THE seen artist whose surreal Southern-gothic pictures of shadowy figures, ominous owls, and black flamingos adorned album covers by Drive-By Truckers, has died at 58. Freed was acknowledged with colorectal most cancers in January and a GoFundMe promoting advertising and marketing marketing campaign was underway to assist pay for his treatment. The band’s publicist confirmed Freed’s dying to Rolling Stone.
The Richmond, Virginia-based Freed, who attended artwork work school at Virginia Commonwealth University, started collaborating with Drive-By Truckers on 2001’s Southern Rock Opera, the group’s daring double album impressed by the 1977 Lynyrd Skynyrd airplane crash. Working with a mixture of marker, watercolor, and acrylic paint — normally on picket — Freed went on to design the album artwork work for the following seven Truckers albums, together with 2004’s The Dirty South, which Freed instructed author Matt Wake was his favourite cowl in a 2019 interview. As Wake expertly put it then: “Freed’s artwork work appears to be like similar to Truckers music sounds.”
The band chosen images for 2 of their additional politically charged albums — 2016’s American Band and 2020’s The Unraveling — nonetheless returned to Freed’s paintings work for his or her second 2020 album, The New OK. Their newest LP, Welcome 2 Club XIII, launched in June, selections Freed paintings work of a lonely driver on a desolate freeway.
In his work with Drive-By Truckers, Freed started utilizing a picture that will change into synonymous with the band: The “Cooley Bird.” The black, long-necked feathered chook — Freed initially conceived it as a black flamingo a decade earlier — first appeared on DBT’s 2003 LP Decoration Day and have develop to be often known as the “Cooley Bird,” a nod to the band’s guitarist Mike Cooley. (Cooley would go on to have a guitar painted with the chook.)
“People had been calling it the Death Bird and the Crowmingo and every kind of apt factors, nonetheless for some set off Jill my ex-wife talked about, ‘No, it’s a Cooley Bird,’” Freed instructed AL.com in 2019. “And it sounded good, so we talked about that and it caught. And it does sort of seem like a Cooley Bird.”
Before turning into a visible artist, Freed carried out contained in the alt-country band Dirt Ball. In 2019, he printed the coffee-table e book The Art of Wes Freed – Paints, Posters, Pin-ups and Possums, which assembled a variety of of his best-known works.
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