Kyla Medina

Kyla worked as my studio assistant in Iowa for most of her BFA years.  New York City was always her destination when she graduated.  Like almost everyone who moves here, she ran through her savings and almost had to leave.  But like anyone who is still here, you know that somehow, you just make things work.  She says she’s never leaving.  (Since reconnecting with her she fixed the template of site you are reading.)

Kyla Medina 6-20-15

Kyla Medina 6-20-15

Michael Perrone

I have known Michael Perrone for over ten years now.  We both taught at the University of Iowa and now we both teach at VCUarts (Although he is in Qatar).   He was in Richmond in 2013 when Free Ice Water started in chaos, so we talked more about his journey to being an artist than my journey to sobriety.

Michael Perrone 6-20-15 @ Mixed Greens Gallery

Michael Perrone 6-20-15 @ Mixed Greens Gallery

Trey and Bianca Sager

Trey and Bianca met up with me @ Mixed Greens on Saturday June 13th. Instead of talking in the gallery we decided to walk up to the High Line to have our conversation.  Trey and I were roommates in college and were pretty much inseparable for four or five years.  Until June, 2014, we had not seen each other or spoken face to face since 2001.  We have been in regular contact this year.  We talked a little about why we were estranged for more than 13 years, but we mostly talked about Trey’s loss of his mother at sixteen.  He is almost her age when she passed.  I asked him if having Bianca in his life has offered him any insight into how his mother felt when she was Trey’s age.  It was really great to spend some time with both of them and sit in one place for a conversation.  Even with the throngs of people on the High Line.

Lynn Sachs

Lynn Sachs is an amazingly talented documentary filmmaker who I had an opportunity to speak with in the Gallery at the end of the day on Friday June 12th. We only had a half an hour to talk because the gallery was closing but we continued our conversation on the High Line as we walked south towards the new Whitney Museum of American Art. She already knew a little about “Free Ice Water” because I gave her a FIW kit in February after I saw her Film/Installation “Every Fold Matters“.

We talked about “Invisibility”. About wanting to be invisible, about feeling invisible, about it’s superhero qualities and the idea of not being seen, acknowledged or known. She told me a story about being nine or ten and shimmying across the top of the “monkey bars” on the “jungle gym” imagining herself invisible. (We also talked about jungle gyms being renamed “the playground equipment.”) I have been recording some of my conversations and will be posting some of them to my soundcloud channel if you want to hear them.

knows he is among the lucky few to see this.

A photo posted by John Freyer (@temporama) on

Ella Waterworth

Ella Waterworth is from Perth, Australia. She walked into the “New Dominion” opening because there was a 10 gallon water cooler out on 26th Street and it was hot as snot outside. She was the perfect person to have the first “Perfect Mason” conversation within the gallery the following day. We talked about the origins of the project, sobriety and insanity and then I asked her what change in her life made the most lasting mark on her trajectory.. Or in less jargonese.. “What path lead you here, to this time and place?”

She thought for a while and she told be about turning 18 and being emancipated by her family. Her dad said “You are an adult now” and she had to go and make her own way at age 18. She worked for a year saving money so that she could get as far away from Austrailia as possible. She went to a travel agent, and asked what the furthest place away on the globe would be? A spin of the globe drew a perfectly straight line to Costa Rica. She stayed as long as her savings would support her and learned at 19, what it meant to be “rich” even though she only had a years savings from working a manual labor job in Australia. She met truly rich Americans living there for the surfing season, and Costa Ricans working for nearly nothing doing odd jobs for the tourists. It forever changed the way that she saw the world and her place in it. She refocused her life to be in service of others, she currently works in social work in Perth.

Ian Berry @ The Tang, Saratoga Springs, NY.

Ian didn’t quite know what he was in for when he told me to stop by The Tang Museum in August 2013, but the gathering storm clouds upon my arrival might have clued him in. Just after I set up my table and chairs out on the lawn, the sky broke loose and soaked me through. We moved inside and we figured out how/what we were doing. Ian sent me a set of images of the assorted “perfect masons” that we made that day. This image is of the bookshelf in his office. My VCU colleague, Hope Ginsburg’s blue sponge is just to the left. What a perfect pairing really.

This is a "Perfect Mason" from one of the first Free Ice Water "Interventions" in 2013.   It was a bit chaotic but Ian and the Staff @ the Tang saved their Mason Jars.

This is a “Perfect Mason” from one of the first Free Ice Water “Interventions” in 2013. It was a bit chaotic but Ian and the staff @ The Tang Museum saved their Mason Jars.

Free Ice Water @ The Hive – VCU Institute for Contemporary Art

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The twenty-five jars displayed here are the result of Freyer conducting sessions with participants of the Virginia Collegiate Recovery Conference, held at VCU’s Wellness Resource Center on March 27, 2015.

Martha Wilson @ The Franklin Furnace

My therapist tells me if I am carrying more than one bag that I should “check myself before I wreck myself” – that is not a direct quote, but I always think of that when I am carrying too much shit around. When I visited Martha Wilson in August of 2013, I was rolling a mini Billy Bookcase around the broken sidewalks of Brooklyn, like the one that Johan Lindquist and I built in Sweden. It was bungee corded together and had the leftover panels from my car’s former roof-rack, which I had just flattened in a manhattan parking garage. I has some serious “baggage” both literally and physically. Martha as usual was unphased by my absurd appearance and participated in one of the earliest Free Ice Water conversations.  Here is the “Perfect Mason” that we made and where it sits in her office at Franklin Furnace at the Pratt Institute.

Martha Wilson's "Perfect Mason" 2013

Martha Wilson’s “Perfect Mason” 2013

Sasha’s Super 8 155 Macrozoom Bolex


I love to buy old cameras. So much so that I buy cameras that I can not use and then give them to Sasha as gifts. This is a beautiful camera. Sasha ran a roll of super8 film through this but I have no done any testings. Sounds like a Swiss watch. Feels like a Swiss tank in you hand.


Jack’s Sterling Silver Cocktail Cup

O Olive Salad w/Vodka Dressing

In 1999 my father Jack Freyer was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  For the last 16 years he has adapted to all kinds of new and viscous symptoms of his disease.  This year he had to give up having his nightly olive salad.  His doctors were not worried about the fat in the olives, in fact,  olives and olive oil might have a slightly beneficial effect on his overall health.  No his doctors’ main concerns with his olive salad was the vodka dressing.  There are no shortage of cocktail cups in the Freyer houses, hence the number of us in recovery. Taking away Jack’s nightly beverage might extend his life by a matter of weeks or months but I’m not sure it’s worth it.  That said, I am not his primary care-giver and do not have to deal with the consequences and likelihood of him falling.

This is one of his favorite cups for his nightly beverage.  Since he no longer can use it, I’m putting it up for sale on eBay.  I am donating 100% of the sale of his cocktail cup to Parkinson’s research and will donate a portion of all of my February sales as well.

Jack, Barb and I completed a “Perfect Mason” tonight and talked about burial plans with Jack and my brothers.  He has a plot right next to his brother Jim Freyer who died last year.  The plot is on Wellesley Island, NY right next to one of Jack’s best childhood friends John Withers.  My siblings and I came down to watch the Superbowl with Jack. Too bad I can’t have an olive salad either.