During the recent DIY Trunk Show I caught up with three very different participants (the other interviews can be found here and here) and asked them a few questions. One such participant was Laura Berger, an artist who blurs the lines between the art and craft worlds.
How long have you been working in your current style and media? How did you begin creating this sort of art?
I’ve been painting and drawing my entire life. In college & afterward, I worked as a scenic artist where I painted huge murals for businesses & backdrops for theatre productions. I started working smaller and focusing on my own work in 2007. My father had just passed away and I was really needing a fairly constant distraction that could hold my attention & make my thoughts lighter. I think that’s where the kind of fantastical characters and positive sentiments arose from…basically out of a desire to think about more pleasant things and feel better.
What is the inspiration behind your work?
I’m inspired a lot by Japanese art, illustration & street art. Everything is inspiring in some sense, really… music, nature, people, food… Almost all of my ideas come to me as whole images, usually just before I fall asleep or when I’m driving — anything where my mind is in that empty sort of place.
How long have you been involved in the DIY Trunk show? What got you started?
This was my third year participating in DIY. It was one of the first shows I did, and I honestly can’t remember how I heard about it… probably one of my friends clued me in & I applied. It’s a really great show so I’m very thankful I found out about it and was accepted!
Do you participate in any other fairs in or outside of Chicago?
Yes, I actually just started doing my art & illustration work full time this past September, so I’ve been doing lots of shows since. I love doing the Renegade shows, and have participated in those here and in Brooklyn and San Francisco. This year I also did the Craftin’ Outlaws show in Columbus, OH, and the Bloomington Handmade Market in Indiana. I’m headed to San Francisco in two weeks also to participate in Bizarre Bazaar.
How did you become involved in the craft scene? How do you feel the craft scene functions in comparison to the world of fine art?
Well, I’ve always gone to the Renegade shows as a shopper and loved them. I would look forward to that every year. I got involved in the craft scene as an artist when I joined Etsy and also when I was invited to participate in the Indie Arts Market at Schubas in 2008. I have met incredible people through the craft scene and there’s a really cool sense of community there. I think the craft and fine art scenes get blurred a lot more now, which is nice because I think the craft scene is sometimes a bit more accessible or comfortable to more people. They also work in conjunction with one another, which is what allows me to make a living at my artwork right now. There’s such a great range of opportunities that come from merging these worlds.
If you could change one thing about the Chicago art scene, what would it be?
I would just wish for more spaces dedicated to showing younger / emerging / indie artists. Chicago does these great art walks, too, but it would be amazing if they happened more. The First Fridays concept in Pilsen is awesome; I’d love it if that sort of happening was more widespread or frequent in the city. I think it would naturally breed a tighter community, which I definitely long for when I’m working alone so much!
Laura is currently featured in “Dream Powder”, a show of her artworks and crafts at Inkling.