Venice Native Sadie Gilliam Has Encouraging Words For Fellow Artists
As a lifelong Venice local, Sadie Gilliam wants you to know that the creative spirit and artistic legacy is still very much alive in this rapidly developing neighborhood. She's proof of it. The daughter of a Louisiana transplant and a "hippy muralist on the Boardwalk," she grew up appreciating the ever-evolving nature of her hometown and takes a lot of pride as an artist building a business here today. Her jewelry collection Freedumb Founded features modern geometric shapes with a rough, organic texture of handmade imperfection. She uses the art of lost-wax casting, a skill she picked up at her first job at Accents jewelry shop on Main Street when she was 15. She'll do custom pieces in gold, but the majority is made in sterling silver, blush-toned bronze, and a high sheen golden brass, keeping the collection accessible with styles that are easy to mix and stack.
We discovered Gilliam on Instagram (of course) and realized once we met that we live only a block away from one another. It was perfect timing too. She had just finished her first pieces and they were among the top sellers in our holiday pop-up shop. We recently added some new Freedumb Founded pieces to our online store and got a chance to ask Gilliam a little more about her Venice story and what's next for her.
What's the story behind Freedumb Founded?
Freedumb Founded was born in 2014 in Venice, CA. I started creating the line as a hobby and I would wear the pieces to work. I received such positive feedback from coworkers and customers that I decided to start a line of jewelry. The name was "Found Free" for a few days until I decided on "Freedumb Founded". As far as fashion and self awareness, there is something sacred about choosing to be "dumb" or ignorant when it comes to how you are perceived by others. And so Freedumb Founded was born.
If you could have anyone post an IG shoutout wearing Freedumb Founded, who would it be?
If I could have anyone post an IG shoutout wearing FF, from a business standpoint it would have to be Taylor Swift since she has the most followers (50 million), but from a personal stand point I think it would be amazing to have Blondie, Beyonce, Lady Gaga or Heidi Klum. I like risk takers.
What's your Venice story?
My Venice Story started in 1980. My dad was a hippy muralist on the Boardwalk. My mom came to Venice Beach on vacation from Louisiana for a few weeks and was staying with my uncle who lived on Wavecrest at the time. She was casually introduced to my dad and apparently thought he was cool enough to leave Louisiana and move to Venice. In 1982 they had me! My mom worked in an office and my dad painted/took care of me. Much of my childhood was spent hanging with my dad while he worked on paintings and huge murals at the beach and around town. He'd always hand me the brush so I could do some piece of the mural.
Who are a few of your favorite artists/ style icons?
Some of my favorite artists are Basquiat, Frida Kahlo and Dali
You were raised in Venice and you're an artist building a business. What do you say to those who feel that Venice is struggling to keep its creative spirit alive?
It is an interesting time in Venice, as it should be in true Venice fashion. It seems there are the "OG" Venetians who don't want change and think big business is ruining Venice and then there are the big businesses and rich people who are moving in and capitalizing on the Venice name and culture. The main issue is real estate. There's only so much of it and some of it's sadly being bought by people who know nothing or very little about the culture. Many old school Venetians have "thrown in the towel," which is not the attitude to have. What works is working harder, being more present and being more involved. The art community will never be the same as it was 20, 10 or even 2 years ago but it is alive and here to stay.
What are some of the other gigs you've had before Freedumb Founded?
Before creating Freedumb Founded I was an Director/Teacher at an elementary school, an animal nurse at an animal hospital, I did marketing for a beauty supply company, and numerous retail jobs in high school and college including Allan's Aquarium and Conroy's Flowers which is now Deus Machina.
When work is done and it's time to treat yourself, where are you going?
When my work day is done (is it ever really done?) I like to play with my dogs, workout or have a drink with friends.
What's your favorite song to dance to?
My favorite song to dance to is anything in the '90s hip hop or R&B category so that I can bust out my old school poppin' and lockin' skills.
What's next for Freedumb Founded?
The next thing happening with Freedumb Founded is our first Trade Show in Las Vegas where I hope to acquire more wholesale accounts. My next line, Kingdumb Founded will be released this summer as well. Kingdumb Founded is jewelry line with animals as the theme. A portion of proceeds will benefit a rescue sanctuary that coincides with the animal in that piece.