Local wunderkind Lindsey Berggren churns out more art each week than you probably have hanging in your house.
Berggren was interested in art at a young age like anyone else, but didn’t start creating some herself until realizing it was possible after college.
“I’ve always really liked art. I just don’t think I always knew that I had the ability to make anything that great,” Berggren said. “I feel like as a kid in school I assumed that the things I was ‘talented’ at would be the things I automatically had a knack for. It wasn’t until I graduated college that I started practicing art and trying to create new things, even if it wasn’t the easiest thing for me.”
getting comfortable being an artist
For a lot of people, the period after college can either be highly prolific as they look for a job or a big waste of time. “Starting art” at that time may lend a person to not wanting to admit it to others without some serious output to back it up.
“I still feel a little weird about calling myself an artist, considering how many amazingly skilled artists there are out there,” Berggren said. “I feel a little silly comparing myself to others who have been at it for so much longer and have so much more experience under their belts.
“Once I realized that I could create pieces or design things for people that they needed and wanted and couldn’t make themselves, that’s when I think I became an artist in my own right. After people started commissioning me to paint things for them, that’s when I felt like it was OK to refer to myself as an artist, though I usually like to say that I ‘make art’ because I still have a long way to go in feeling like I identify with being ‘an artist.’”
Even talking about art, for a lot of people, is a slightly uncomfortable endeavor. The line between talking honestly and sounding pretentious is narrow, and even the most seasoned tightrope-walkers sometimes misstep.
“Part of why I create art is because it’s hard for me to express myself concisely through words and I like that someone can look at what I’ve created and understand more than what I can put down in words,” Berggren said.
An Eye for photography
Another way she can convey emotion and meaning is through her photography. Not only has Berggren been known to create wedding fliers/posters and even a custom guest sign-in canvas for weddings, but she also delves into wedding photography.
Berggren, who is currently booking for the 2019 season, is able to capture the emotion and aesthetic of a wedding and with shots like her portrait of bride Kaylie Dunn. It’s easy to see that Berggren’s talents lay beyond just the painted medium.
Berggren’s painting process comes across a little more regimented and scheduled than the average part-time artist, but it is also therapeutic.
This stricter timeline can help churn out content and keep the creative brain fresh and unyielding to stress.
“I try to start a project at least once or twice a week,” she said. “It’s hard for me to do something that most would consider ‘relaxing’ like reading a book or taking a bath. I can sit down and paint or draw something, however, and feel like I’m being productive but also giving my mind a break.
“For me, making art is a therapy. I love that people like my art and that they are buying it, but the process is my chance to meditate. Usually, I will think of the subject and either find some source images or sketch out what I’m going to paint. I’ll draw it out in white chalk pencil before I lay in anything permanent, usually. I mess up a lot, though. My process is essentially trying something and messing up until I figure it out.”
One of Berggren’s biggest influences is a local artist who creates pieces reminiscent of her own: Matt Plett.
Though Plett has been delving into giant murals and becoming alleyway royalty, he and Berggren both find old or thrifted paintings and add their own spin. Whether specifically for a customer or through their own zany mind, they add some script or bold, white, hand-painted lettering on top of the already existing art.
You can see this similarity, though it remains distinctly within Berggren’s style, in the two Berggren pieces entitled “Three Things” and “Prayer of St. Francis Excerpt.” Here, the reclaimed paintings are obviously old-school and not something you’d find hanging in a modern home unironically. But with the timeless messages that Berggren has painted on top, she has brought the pieces back to life, making them modern and likable, empowering and bold, while remaining, in the best possible way, quaint.
“Matt Plett is my favorite,” Berggren said. “He is an amazing artist and I love everything he makes. But on top of that, he’s just a really nice, sweet, and down-to-earth person.
“Erica Anderson-Senter is a local poet, and I think seeing her pursue the art she loved and read it for others made me feel like I could pursue art as well.”
Through combining her influences and those who inspire her, Berggren marries words to everything from still lifes to landscapes to create her signature style, which can accurately convey a message that the viewer can take away.
“I hope folks see a theme of renewal in my art,” she said. “I can’t say that it’s been purposeful, but personal renewal and growth in nature have been the things I’ve noticed come forward in what I draw and the words I paint.”