How did you get into making art?
I’ve always loved painting and drawing, or really doing anything creative, since I was a child. It was the main way I remember entertaining myself. I went through a really difficult period in my mid-twenties where my father passed away and I had several other losses, and that’s when I would say I started to develop an actual disciplined daily practice. It wasn’t even conscious at the time and I didn’t set out with any particular goals in mind, but I can see in retrospect that it was a powerful way for me to distract myself and find some comfort or healing. I’ve noticed now that if I have even a few days where I’m not doing some kind of creative work, I tend to feel a bit off or agitated / like something that I need is missing.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve been working on several larger-scale paintings that will be shown at Art Miami with Hashimoto Contemporary in December, as well as some pieces for a couple of group shows that I have coming up. I’m also trying to get a series of small works on paper completed; that’s more of a personal project.
I’m currently most interested in using painting as a way to try to better understand or touch upon emotions and memories that feel just out of our conscious mental grasp.
What inspired you to get started on this body of work?
I’m currently most interested in using painting as a way to try to better understand or touch upon emotions and memories that feel just out of our conscious mental grasp –the ones that are sort of hazy or difficult to fully access through regular thought processes.
Up until now I’ve mostly been using the human figure as the subject for this expression but I’m also really focused on the psychology of color and the way spatial relationships can give rise to particular feelings.
Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?
I would say I’m usually working towards distinct projects. This is helpful to me as it provides some structure and a framework, which I’ve learned really works best for me to stay productive and find cohesion. But I also really feel like there’s the connecting thread of learning through each individiual project that makes it feel like they’re all just small parts of the more broad overarching project, which is simply creating work and growing through the years.
What’s a typical day like in your studio?
Lately I’ve been having my morning coffee while looking at art books sitting on the floor at home; I started doing this as a comforting way to start my day during the pandemic, and it also always provides me with the juice to get to work. I usually try to check out any emails and do admin tasks or work-related errands next, and then head into the studio; I often work until late at night. I would love to find a way to flip myself into a morning painter but as of now I still feel most creatively active in the later hours.
Who are your favorite artists?
Too many favorites to list them all but I love Arthur Dove, Hilma af Klint, Domenico Gnoli, Helen Frankenthaler, Miró, Matisse, Philip Guston, Jean Arp, Victor Brauner, Georgia O’Keefe; I love a lot of the Transcendentalist painters like Stuart Walker and Agnes Pelton, and the Chicago Imagists as well.
Where do you go to discover new artists?
Instagram is of course a great and seemingly infinite resource for discovery, for better or worse, ugh! I also love going to the Art Institute here in Chicago as much as possible, I find it so calming there. And it’s always great hearing about new artists from friends or other connections.
Laura Berger is an artist based in Chicago who recently won The Hopper Prize. To learn more about the artist by visiting the following links: