Three weeks ago, Freeport native Cody Copeland saw something he never thought he would see — or, at least not this soon: his paintings hung in a store in Manhattan's SoHo district.
The store is Treasure & Bond, which is owned by Nordstrom. Not bad for a young lad from Freeport, Fla.
Treasure & Bond describes itself as a Collaborative Retail Experiment — a retail store that donates all profits to Children's Charities in New York City. Its stated mission is to help people help people, and to do so with imagination and style.
Copeland was born and raised just outside Freeport, next to his family's hunting and fishing supply store. He attended Seaside Neighborhood School and sang in its choir.
He has been singing and creating art since he was a little kid, he said, and the two are equally important.
I have been playing guitar since age 13; I sang in school, in church, and then began performing in public places such as at Cerulean's when it was open at WaterColor, and doing gigs," he said.
About the same time, Cerulean's manager, Anne Hunter, began showing his artistic creations there, and some of his pieces were carried at Big Mama's Hula Girl Gallery when it was located in Grayton Beach.
Copeland calls his work a mixture of folk and pop art.
"I used to do more pop art. Now it has more of a transcendental vibe," he said.
Copeland works in acrylics on salvaged wood, with some pieces even coming from the house he grew up in.
The creative aspect of his work is inspired by his dreams, he said.
"I have gone through a lot of changes over the past couple of years in location and experiences, so, I have themed my new body of work — New Beginnings and Growth," he said. "I look at it like antlers, like things we shed that we have to."
Copeland is referencing his move from the close-knit community of Freeport in 2010 to Chicago. He made the move after visiting a friend up there. He began working the music scene there, took some classes and did some gigs. He plays piano and performs in the genre of "electro acoustic pop/folk music," he said.
"If I had to choose between music and painting, I don't think I could," he said. "I wouldn't know how to choose. I can't imagine not doing any of one of them. For me, they work together. The artistic forms compliment each other; my paintings are the visual of my music."
Copeland has returned home to Freeport to live and has an album release planned for April 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Seaside Rep Meeting Hall.
"I realized this is where I need to be," he says simply.
Before returning to Freeport, he visited long-time friend Anne Hunter in SoHo. She asked to represent his work in her area and was able to get eight pieces of his artwork accepted at Treasure & Bond. His artwork can be viewed on the store's website.
"In the 1970s, SoHo was an art colony," said Hunter. "There are few galleries left here now, but Nordstrom has brought in this store and wants to be part of the community."
"This has all happened very quickly and feels great," said Copeland. "It's magical. I didn't see it coming so quickly and am really excited."
Copeland is currently working on seven new paintings. Hear him perform at Summer Kitchen at Rosemary Beach on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Locally, Allison Wickey Gallery in Seacrest behind La Cocina carries his work.
Treasure & Bond is located at 350 West Broadway in SoHo. Visit the store online at www.treasureandbond.com.