CREATE Portage County launched a program called Paint the County. The program allows local artists to tell visual stories as Stephon Kiba Freeman did with his visualization of how his daughter sees the world through books on the Worzalla mural. Get the inside scoop on the artist and his "controlled chaos" style with our Meet the Artist series. 

Header photo from @worzallabooks

Inspiration Strikes

A transplant from Chicago, Illinois, Stephon Kiba Freeman has been an artist since the day he can remember. While he didn't start painting until after graduating college, he first got inspired to be creative while on a bus or at a bus stop with his mom. He had seen someone drawing and decided he wanted to try it out when he got home. Since then, it has been natural for him to be creative. To this day, though, you will not see Freeman painting with a brush.

Stephon and his family tend to travel a lot, so one thing he would love to create would be a mural in every state as a tour with his daughter and her whimsical nature. He plans on incorporating his son, Kai, into his murals in the future as well.

He loves getting involved with the community whenever he can, including hosting monthly artist meetups at CREATE Portage County's Idea Center, and being a part of Jefferson Elementary's PTO, where he helps plan events and host workshops. "Basically, if there is a reason to connect with different aspects of the community, I try to get involved somehow," Freeman says, "I love that the art scene is blossoming in our area. I enjoy connecting more and more with local creative people."


Worzalla Mural

When it comes to a challenge, the Worzalla mural was the biggest challenge Stephon had ever faced. Before coming across the Paint the County initiative, he had already been working on a painting involving his daughter and how she sees the world through books. After coming across the call for the initiative, he reviewed site options and realized the layout of the Worzalla building matched with the idea he wanted to create. 

One of Freeman's favorite things about creating the mural was that he was able to cement his daughter, Soraiya, at a place and point in time. His daughter loved the mural and got to see parts of it while he was working. The silhouette however wasn't added until the end where he got to record her reaction to seeing the "big Soraiya".

Another thing he also enjoyed about the project was that the image can reach multiple people through different themes, regardless of if you are an avid reader or not. People are all able to appreciate the whimsical nature of the piece. 


Chai & Tae Kwon Do

Since moving to the Stevens Point Area in 2009, some of Freeman's favorite spots in the area include biking with his family to local playgrounds like Bukolt and Iverson, or Five Rings Martial Arts Studio where he is a third-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and even teaches an adult class twice a week. 


Where to find him

Want to know where you might spot Freeman locally? Check out any art-related event as he is usually in attendance, even if he isn't participating. You also might spot him grabbing one of the monthly latte specials from Mission Coffeehouse, or grabbing a fresh doughnut from one of Rose House Café's popup events.

Looking for more art from Stephon? While he is always posting his work on his website and social media channels, you can find more of his artwork on display like the Worzalla mural. Locally, you can find his work in the Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum, Boys and Girls Club (Berard Center), at Black Girl Magic Beauty, and on Lo Que Sea food truck. But, he has also done other works throughout Wisconsin, including De Pere, Chippewa Falls, Madison, Arkdale, Appleton, Ladysmith, Menasha, and Rome. His first location for a mural outside of Wisconsin will take place, out of the states entirely, in Osaka, Japan.


Want More?

Keep up with Kiba Freeman Art on social media @kibafreemanart or his website. Looking for more on local art? Take a look at must-see murals or public art in plain view. Then while you're out viewing the art, share your photos with us @stevenspointarea on Instagram or use #stevenspointarea