I discovered Laura Berger's work very much by accident. I was visiting some close friends in Seattle and I wandered into a home store that carried her prints. The print I purchased was called Be Nice to Yourself (still available on her Etsy shop). Something about the design and the little creatures she created really captivated me, and I never forgot it. In fact, I held on to her business card, which was neatly tucked into the back of the bag the print was sealed in, and when I looked her up online I discovered a whole world of work she'd created, from paintings on wood to precious little dishes. In short, I wanted to buy everything -- and that's when I knew I had an artist on my hands that the world needed to know about.
Lucky for us here at COLOURlovers, Laura had time to speak to us for an exclusive interview in which she speaks about her creation process, inspirations, dreams of one day seeing her creatures as collectible figures and more. If you're as capitivated as we were, you can keep up with Laura on her Flickr page, through her blog (listed above) or on her Etsy page.
COLOURlovers: Do you remember the first time you created art? When was it?
Laura: I distinctly remember bringing home a giant fish that I made when I was in kindergarten. It was made out of two pieces of fish-shaped brown kraft paper that we painted fish faces onto, stapled together, and stuffed with something or other to make it three-dimensional. I showed it to my mom and then I watched Mister Roger's Neighborhood & ate a sandwich.
COLOURlovers: When was the first time you sold something you created yourself?
Laura: Hm, that's kind of tough to say -- I used to freelance as a scenic artist for theatres & such, so I would get paid for that work. But as far as an actual piece of art that you could hold in your hands, the first thing I sold was about 4 years ago, on etsy. It was a very exciting feeling.
COLOURlovers: Were you influenced by other artists growing up? What artists do you feel inspired by now?
Laura: Generally speaking, I'm definitely influenced by Japanese pop art, illustration, and street art, as well as patterns found in nature & architecture. Artists I love are endless, but my first favorite was maybe Mark Rothko -- there's something so calming to me about his work. Lisa Kowalski, Jay Ryan, & Jeremiah Ketner are some Chicago artists that I really admire. Shinzi Katoh, Marc Boutavant, Jon Burgerman, Chuck Close, Mark Whalen, Naoshi, & loads of other folks...there are so many people doing amazing work, it's overwhelming!
Laura: I kind of think of them as little friends. They are inspired by humans & animals, but it's so much more fun to combine a whole bunch of traits and let them be their own unique thing. Confusing, not really sure what they are or where they fit in, sort of trying to just be what they are... sort of like us.
COLOURlovers: What medium do you most prefer to create?
Laura: I like gouache the best. I also really love drawing in ink & marker.
COLOURlovers: Have you ever considered your creatures in other forms (statues, toys, etc)?
Laura: It is absolutely a dream of mine to make vinyl toys. I want to do that. I don't really know how to go about it. If you know, please let me know.
COLOURlovers: Do you create art full time, or is it a side project for you?
Laura: I've been putting in full-time hours on my art & doing shows for the past 3 years while I worked another part-time job. Then I quit my part-time job last September & I've been doing art full-time since then.
COLOURlovers: How do you like selling work on Etsy? Do you find the community supportive?
Laura: I am very grateful for Etsy. I find it to be very supportive & it seems like they're often adding features that really make selling & staying organized a lot more streamlined, so I really appreciate the attention to improvement.
COLOURlovers: Do you have any dream projects that you'd like to take on in the future?
Laura: I want very much to illustrate a children's book, or twelve. I also want to do more murals, as I really love painting on a large scale. I would be ridiculously happy to be able to design characters for vinyl toys.
COLOURlovers: Thank you for your time today, Laura!
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