Maggie Held Berg
BIG ART IN NYC
by Jonny Boys
Maggie Held Berg was the winner of the visual art contest in the New York City Sugar Art and Fashion Show. It was a joy to get to know her work a little better.
EAM: Are you a full-time artist?
MHB: "No, there are some weeks that it’s full-time, there are some weeks that it’s part-time, and there are some days
and weeks that I’m not doing it at all. I think that’s all get a change, I have a seven-year-old and a three-year-old. After I had my three-year-old I had worked part-time in an office doing the opposite of being an artist sitting at a desk being an executive assistant, a very non-creative job for very long time. After I had my younger son I didn’t go back to work “Roads Purple” by Maggie Held Berg and I started slowly, I didn’t start it intending to do this as a career or as a business. And then it just took over, it became something that I really wanted to do and I couldn’t stop doing."
EAM: Have you always been artistic?
MHB: "I’ve always been creative, I never did well in school except for art class. School just didn’t hold my interest except for any creative aspect of it. With art it just felt like the time flew by. Always thought that I was good but it wasn’t until much later in life that I realized I was good. My
mom kept all the stuff that I made, through the years she would go through the stuff and show me, and it was always interesting to see the kind of stuff I did when I was my son’s age."
EAM: I noticed you went to school for fashion design, what can you tell me about that?
MHB: "I went to school for fashion buying and merchandising. Again when I graduated the thought of actually going through more school was just torture for me, I wasn’t sure what I did want to do, I just knew studying in the math, the reading and all that stuff was just not of interest to me. So I thought I would just stay in New York, in the place I was born and raised...Even though I didn’t go to school for design I was in a very creative environment. And through that I started to work in the fashion industry. It was a more creative way to go to school then what my friends were doing."
EAM: I like your roads paintings, they are very visually striking was there and influence to those pieces?
MHB: "Those are one of the few series of paintings that I’ve done that require more precision in my work, and it’s nice to do that for a change. I have always had a fascination with highways, since I was very young, it still amazes me. Whenever I’m driving on a highway I’m always like who did all this, where one can be next to another from point A to point B, however far the distance, it all connects and it’s fascinating to me. That whole series is inspired by my fascination with highways."
EAM: I noticed that you said your influence by a Jackson Pollock which is obvious by some in your work, have you always been a fan of his?
MHB: "I don’t remember what age I was when I first saw his work but I can remember him being the one artists that I always sort of remembered and recognized even when I was young. My mom always had art books on the coffee table and I just remember feeling...I had a very special feeling about his work. And I would read how he did it and what he did. There was always just so much depth of colors if you focused in on certain areas you could see certain things,and when you look back or when you look from different angles in the choice of color and the placement…Way before I can remember painting and taking it seriously."
EAM: It looks like most year work is larger in scale?
MHB: "My pieces really aren’t that larger scale, but I really don’t like working on small pieces, I just don’t enjoy it, I just like to look at stuff big even if it’s photography. I like the size I think it makes an impact."
EAM: Have you had any chance to get your work into any art galleries?
MHB: "I have not been in any galleries, and part of that is because I haven’t really tried. This is all kind of new and I’ve got a sort of figure out how to go about it...and I still feel like I need to have a full representation of my work. I’m still trying to figure out which direction I’m going in like right now I’m working on a new series of paintings that are three-dimensional and they are part sculpture. I would love the opportunity to being galleries, but I really haven’t made that a focus."
EAM: So are you selling just through word of mouth?
MHB: "Exactly, I have an Etsy shop and I’ve had a lot of feedback, notes and reactions, people putting me in their favorites, but I haven’t sold anything on there. But yes I have sold from word of mouth mostly, through friends of friends of friends...it’s actually been a very good pace for me. I haven’t been making paintings so that I have so much work but it’s been going at a very nice rate and its just enough to show people a good range. And now I feel like it’s picking
up. So far I’ve sold about eight paintings, and about a year and a half. www.etsy.com/shop/MHBMODERNART"
EAM: What is your price range?
MHB: "Anywhere from on the smaller ones $350-$500 and up to $1500 for the larger ones. One of the things about pricing for me is if someone wants a painting, I don’t want them not to have it, because that’s how I’ve felt. A few years ago when we redid our apartment in New York, we
opened a lot of the walls and I had never owned a piece of art, ever, and I had just turned 38, and I had my second kid. As much as I liked painting and being an artist, I knew what I liked and I didn’t really care who the artist was or the history behind it or whatever that was, I just kind of like what I like and I’ve always been that way. And I found the whole art world intimidating so we never bought anything, and we had these walls to fill in a wanted to buy a piece of art, I wanted something beautiful to look at. I had a really hard time, I either found things that I like that were $75,000 or I found things that I like that were really inexpensive, they were in my budget but they were not originals, and they could be and millions of other homes and I didn’t want that. And so I had to paint myself paintings and that’s sort of how it all started. I would never want someone to have that feeling, to like my stuff, but not be able to afford it."
EAM: How did you find out about sugar art and fashion show?
MHB: "I came home one night and I had an email from Timmery, who I had never heard of it all and it was just like,‘I found your stuff online and I’m coming to New York, and I really like it, and would I be interested’. And so I went online and looked her up and there’s not much I’m turning down right now, [so] it sounded fun and she sounded real and normal and interesting and different than what I’m used to in the circles that I am usually in. And I was like yeah sure. I didn’t get to go to the actual show in New York because I was out of town but I wanted my stuff to be there, and I’m glad that I did."