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Made in Chicago: laurageorge

By Jess D'Amico in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 20, 2008 8:18PM

2008_06_laurageorge.jpgSome weeks it feels like the world is out to get us, and this was one of those weeks. Luckily, our spirits were lifted as soon as we saw these adorable prints from laurageorge, who believes that we should all feel good more often. And her illustrations definitely achieve that goal. Her prints are seemingly simplistic designs filled with little touches and details (go to the close-ups of Tell Me, pictured) that make them unique instead of just cutesy.

laurageorge is really Laura Berger, 29, a Wisconsinite transfer to Chicago. Read on after the jump to hear about her experience starting a fashion magazine (when she was seven), and the mystery of middle names.

Chicagoist: How do you make your art stand out from everything else out there?

Laura: To be honest, I don't really think about making my art stand out. I try to just focus on images or ideas that matter to me, in whatever way, and hope that it will make a connection with someone else out there. Either way, I feel better! Art for me is a release & the perfect distraction.

C: Where do you want to go with your art? Where do you see yourself in five years?

L: I guess I want to keep doing what I'm doing -- painting, drawing, making prints, doing small art shows -- but I'd love to start illustrating more for magazines & books, doing more shows, printing on different surfaces. . . I guess just having the ability to do what I'm currently doing plus some!

C: How did you start making stuff?

L: I've been making stuff ever since I can remember. There are distinct memories of a "fashion label" I started at age 7 with my best friend, Rachel. I believe it was called "Ra & La Fashion Co." Maybe you've heard of us? We did a really killer striped tube dress. Sewn by hand. Lots of love. And we made monthly catalogs, as well. Crayola marker was our medium of choice.

C: Why is the sky blue?

L: This question is why I don't have kids. I wouldn't know how to answer them. I think I tuned out in Science class. Maybe I would just distract them if they asked me this so they wouldn't know that their mom wasn't science-savvy. I could say something like, "Here, honey, eat this popsicle."

C: What does your process look like?

L: I think the biggest part of it happens in my head. I love when the idea comes. After that, it depends on what I'm doing -- I sit down with my ink, or my paints, or my graphics tablet, or my beloved gocco printer and go to work. I'm a pretty organized person, but when I work I get really messy. I like to get paint on my hands and clothes. And then I immediately clean up & restore order when I'm done or I get stressed.

C: What's the best thing about laurageorge?

L: laurageorge has been an amazing way for me to connect to other artists & buyers from all over the world. There's a lot of love back & forth -- it feels pretty nice. Feel free to stop by and share the love. It's also the best motivator I've found to keep creating new things.

C: Tell us a secret. . .

L: Laura George was my dad's nickname for me. I don't know why, really. Just because he was a crazy, funny dude. Sometimes he called me Laura Ralph, as well. My middle name is actually Ann. Which is weird. I don't feel like an Ann.

C: What's the Chicago art scene look like for you?

L: I'm really just starting to dip my feet into the art scene here. I feel like it's been very welcoming and is an incredibly supportive community with so many talented folks. I'm looking forward to doing more shows down the road...there are some great people here.

C: Where do you see that culture going?

L: Well, given how great the internet has become as a tool to introduce artists to each other & to enable us to get exposure for our work, I can only see it growing and becoming more interwoven with artists from all over the world. The amazing thing about the internet is that it no longer really matters where you're can put your work out there and create a great circle of people to work with.

C: Any advice for beginners wanting to sell their stuff?

L: Do some little thing every day, even if it's just writing an idea down. Tiny steps work on many levels.

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