Heather D. Freeman is Associate Professor of Digital Media at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte where she teaches digital print, animation, video, installation and drawing. She grew in Skillman, New Jersey and was heavily influenced by her parents’ careers in the sciences. She holds a B.A. in Fine Art and German Studies from Oberlin College and an MFA in Studio Art from Rutgers University. Previously, Freeman worked as an art director, graphic designer, editor and animator in New York and New Jersey. She also taught art, graphic design and visual rhetoric since 2001 at various institutions including the University of Kentucky and Clemson University. Her work is regularly exhibited regionally and nationally and has appeared in international exhibitions in Canada, China, Cuba, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, Sweden and Thailand. More of her work can be viewed at EpicAnt.com and PersonalDemons.org.
I was always interested in the language and symbolic forms of science and where these intersect with mythic, religious and popular iconographies. With the birth of my son Quinn in 2008, this interest shifted to the linguistic growth of children. As a two-year-old, my son’s language skills went through a developmental explosion, and I found myself cataloguing his verbal discoveries. I reinterpreted my son’s language-defined worldview by taking his interests (trucks, dinosaurs, owls, playgrounds, etc.) and translating them into my own concerns (sustainable energy, ecological diversity, social justice, etc.) These became portraits of my son’s shifting Weltanschauung.
My son’s language skills metamorphose as he grows. As his ability to express the world matures, so accrue his fascinations, from construction equipment to video games, from monsters to death. As his relationship to a complex society matures, my relationships as a mother also evolve.
I find myself investigating old interests (science, human history, popular culture) through the lens of motherhood, with all its self-doubts, flailing, and absurdity contrasted with deep assurance. My son’s growth constantly re-defines motherhood for me, just as the changing nature of childhood re-shapes my investigations of the non-familial world.