Thursday, November 20, 2014

Painting Parent - Katie Berggren

Katie Berggren is one of the first Mother Artists whose career I started to follow, while a very different style than my own work her paintings speak to similar issues of family and relationships. She has been a wonderful mentor always willing to help me when I have a question about art business and she has a real heart for mothers and children.

Carry On
How many children do you have? What are their ages?

My boys are 8 & 10 years old.

How did your artistic career begin?

I have always wanted to be an artist among other things :) doesn’t every artist say that? I started as a designer (in business) but kept doing art. Eventually, I said goodbye to design and decided to do art full-time. Being able to work at home was very important to me, even before I had children.

What is your Parenting/work/art situation?

During the school year I work in my studio/office while my boys are at school. I also fit in work in the evenings, sometimes, after they are sleeping. My time in the studio/office bounces strategically and crazily from canvas to computer and back again. Working on my own terms is good for me because I like to bounce from one thing to another when the urge strikes :)

Do your children get involved with your art?

My boys like to draw and my youngest likes to paint. They like to create comic books and such and sell them to me from their comic book studio (closet under the stairs). They help me with my business tasks, as well.

Close Knit
Do they inspire aspects of your art?

Most definitely. I get very inspired when I spend quiet time alone with them in the rocking chair or at bedtime. We love to read together (mama reading) so we get lots of quiet, cozy time together.

How has having children changed your artwork?

Before I became pregnant I was creating art featuring birds, nests, eggs, children, nature, bugs and such. After becoming a mother, my artwork turned to figures and couplets and families. I realize, though, that even early on there was a nurturing and earthy connection form to my work.

How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?

Over the years I have pushed the scales toward artwork and business and family time being a larger priority than housework. However, I believe in a tidy home, so that means that over the years I have simplified our possessions and systems to make cleaning really easy. My family cleans with me every Sunday (my boys vac their own rooms and strip their beds, put away their toys and laundry) and my husband and I do tasks throughout the week. I make use of a basket at the bottom of the stairs for
misplaced toys that need to go upstairs, laundry areas/baskets so things don’t sit around on the floor, a basket for shoes at the entry way, and a basket for books in the living room. Everything has a place, and that makes me happy.

Currently I am willing to let a floor not get vacuumed if I am more inspired to paint. That did not use to be the case when my children were younger. I was much harder on myself back then. I now realize that no one is going to die if some dishes sit overnight, or if the garbage doesn’t go out in the eve.

Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?

It was tougher when they were younger. Now that they are older, they are happy to be in the studio with me while I work, and they design computer games, create things with paper and cardboard, or play together on their computers.

Feed My Soul
How do you encourage your children to be artistic?

I’ve always kept a bin of “Might Come In Handy” stuff around, ever since the very beginning. When I would find something curious or neat, I’d throw it in. The big got VERY big and has since been simplified. But my boys know they can dig in it for string and plastic bits, craft doo-dads and such. This bin has been such a great tool at getting my boys creative and creating. It has been one of my saving graces over the years.

Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your children to be artistic?


In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or easier?

It’s easier because they get to see me living my dream and doing what I want to do. It raises communication about how we can follow our gifts and dreams and desires and find a way to make a living doing them. My boys are both set on being entrepreneurs.

I think being a parent is “hard” all on its own for a variety of reasons, some of them self-inflicted. Being an artist doesn’t make it harder, I don’t think. Our creativity and resourcefulness comes in handy in teaching life lessons and our striving to make a living and work hard can come in handy in teaching deferred gratification and caring for others.

Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?

Nope! But then I have an artistic craft that ties in very nicely with being a mother :) Being a mom is a good thing for my career. I suppose some folks might think that since you are a parent you have/spend less time on your business or artwork.
Katie m. Berggren ~ Could this moment be yours?
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