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Spotlight On: Laura Berger

Spotlight On: Laura Berger

portrait of Ella Swanstrom
Ella Swanstrom
Brand Coordinator

Artist Laura Berger’s freshly feminine, modernistic, and bold creations are everything. ThirdLove commissioned her to rethink our classic breast shape illustrations, and we couldn’t be more in love with the results.

Read a bit about why we’re woman-crushing on this incredible artist.

Hometown and current city:
I was born in Wisconsin and I’ve lived in Chicago for 15 years, but I think we may be on the way to California soon.

Day job/side hustle/passion project (feel free to list all):
My full-time / day job / night job is art. It’s a legitimate hustle to be self-employed in this country as a creative and I haven’t had time for much else the last few years, but my other passions include traveling, reading, singing and playing the guitar, dancing, activism, and yoga.

Tell us about your personal journey. What inspired you to become an artist?
I’ve always loved doing anything creative. I drew a lot as a kid. My college degree was in theatre and I majored in performance, but my minor was in design and I got some experience there painting both costume renderings and also huge backdrops for productions. I freelanced professionally as a scenic artist after graduation, but my personal painting practice really started to take shape after a very difficult time in my life—I was having a hard time recovering and I just started painting every night as a way to distract myself and stay busy with something positive. It’s such a meditative activity and can be a really good way to make space to work through thoughts and feelings from a different angle. 

Your art includes a lot of women’s themes. What themes, in particular, do you find yourself coming back to in your work? Where do you gather inspiration?
I’m interested mostly in existential sorts of themes—self-discovery, self-actualization, how we find a sense of belonging within ourselves / our community / the world at large, how we find meaning, death, spirituality.  I think I’ve landed on women as the figures just because I’m a woman so that’s my lens. Most of my ideas just kind of come to me in little flashes — either of a complete visual image or in words. Inspiration can come from anywhere really, which is nice, and it often seems somewhat random.  Textures, colors, nature, a conversation, a thought, something I read or hear… really anything can bring up a flash of an idea or image. Traveling is really important to me and provides me with new experiences and thoughts. I also just enjoy observing other humans and how we interact with each other and move through the world.

When do you feel most confident in your skin?
I think I feel best when I’m connecting with my true deeper self and letting all of the external stuff drop away.  So maybe after doing something like yoga or meditating. Sitting or walking by the ocean is always very centering, too.

Did you have any insecurities growing up? If so, what were they and how did you overcome them?
Yes…I’m pretty sure I was insecure about just about everything, haha.  For many reasons I’ve always struggled with feeling like an outsider in the world, feeling like I don’t belong or fit anywhere.  I think these are things I still work through to this day, but it feels less sharp now. I suppose just time and age helps with many of our insecurities — we become grounded in who we are to a larger degree. I’ve also always managed somehow to keep forcing myself to do things that are uncomfortable for me.  I think continuing to push ourselves to do things and keep trying even when we don’t feel capable or “good enough” is the best antidote to any insecurity.
  

Who/what has shaped you to be the person you are today?
I think literally everyone I’ve had relationships with has shaped me to some degree.  I’ve learned that sometimes my hardest relationships have helped the most with cultivating my more positive traits.  My partner has also been a huge influence on my life — he’s taught me so much and I admire him deeply.

What are your proudest accomplishments?
I think I’m proudest of my persistence and how hard I’ve worked, and the ways I’ve grown as a person as I’ve gotten older. 

What impact do you want to leave on the world?
I try to be kind and open to encourage others to do the same, to share my voice through my work and hope that some people find some connection there, and to be of help where and how I can.

What’s next for you?
I’m traveling a bit this summer and then back to painting — I have a mural project and group shows coming up this fall and a solo show in the winter at Stephanie Chefas Projects in Portland.

How do you stay balanced?
I don’t know that I am balanced, haha!  I work way too much these days; I think many of us do.  But things that help me with balance are prioritizing relationships, travel, and carving out time for myself that isn’t working. Doing yoga, meditating, going for walks, reading, taking baths are all super helpful and I try to squeeze as many of those things into my week as possible.

What’s your favorite ThirdLove bra and why?
They’re all great and really comfortable but I love the shape and the look of the balconette bra — it’s so pretty.

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