Em-URGE-ing Voices

Your urgent thoughts, urging action

Artists We Love: Laura Berger

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June 16, 2016

Art and the creators behind some of our favorite work have changed as digital media maintains its hold on audiences the world over. Instagram has become the world’s museum, and finding and appreciating art has become easier than ever. This summer, we want to take a minute to appreciate some of our favorite artists who create work that inspires and excites us as reproductive justice advocates, intersectional feminists, and culture agitators. Click here to see more from the Artists We Love series.

Artist: Laura Berger, Painter

What encouraged you to become an artist?
I was always active in a lot of creative things growing up — I painted, drew, did theatre, sang, danced, and played instruments.  When I was 27, my father got ill at age 60 and died quite suddenly.  I was very close with him.  Around the same time, my long-term relationship ended and I got mugged at gunpoint while traveling abroad.  When I got home, I felt like my whole life had fallen apart and I was just trying to pick up the pieces.  I was searching for some healing and started painting every night — really just as a way to distract myself and try to feel better.  I wasn’t doing this consciously, actually — I was just so lost and sad and was really just reaching for something to make it go away.  I honestly never imagined art would be my career, but everything just grew slowly from there as I kept working.  And I’m so grateful that it did.

What is one of your favorite pieces that you have created over the years? 
I think it’s hard to like your own work, at least for me, because I always see the flaws and I’m always trying to keep moving forward with my work.  So I think I tend to prefer whatever I’ve created most recently 🙂 I like this piece called Personal Mountains.  It has a lot of different meanings for me.
Who are the artists or activists that inspire you?
I’m inspired by the peace activism and grace of people like Thich Nhat Hanh, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi.  I love so many artists — some favorites include Helen Frankenthaler, Kelse Brookes, Antonio Frasconi, Joan Miró, Jesse Oonark, Yayoi Kusama, Hilma Af Klimt.  I’m also very inspired by old Buddhist and Hindu works, Native American textiles and Nayarit sculpture.
Do you have any advice for budding talent out there?
I think persistence, discipline, and hard work are key, as well as being very true to yourself and open in your work.  When your unique voice and experiences can come through your creations, that’s what will make your work have its own original vibe.  In light of that, I think it’s important to devote a lot of time and energy to learning about yourself and becoming very comfortable creating from that deeper, honest place.  Your style will continue to evolve as long as you’re working every day, both in the studio and on your own personal development.
                             everthing+is+coming+to+you laura berger togetherness by laura bergerillumination laura berger

 Images via www.laurgaberger.com: (top:Personal Mountains ; from bottom left to right: Everything Is Coming To You, Togetherness, and Illumination

See more of Laura’s work on Facebook, Instagram, and shop her work.

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