Visual Artist Laelie Berzon owes a lot to her Latvian heritage it would seem. Influenced by the many murals and sculptures collected by her parents and her recollections of the portraits and illustrations of her Latvian grandfather, Berzon’s use of vivid hues, mixed media and layered collage work in an abstract form, reflect her Eastern European heritage and her own personal modern day perspectives of her life.
Here Laelie shares with us what she is working on right now, what she is doing when she is not painting, where she plans to travel to next, and what she is whipping up in the kitchen…
What are you working on right now?
Painting has always been a relished pastime and a means of escape, an outlet from the daily rigors of running a business. Something Beginning With (SBW) is a furniture brand I launched in 2011 in collaboration with Designer Lisa Vincitorio. I have always painted purely for the joy it brings me and recently, due to unsolicited demand, have been working on private commissions. I am looking to exhibit my works soon.
What inspired you in your latest collection of work?
My latest collection of work is the culmination of vivid colour, potent brushstrokes and exaggerated texture imbued with passion and evoking movement. It is an expression of my inner thoughts and emotions, allowing me to reflect on my life at that moment in time. Painting gives me a sense of unity and balance and this collection highlights the emotions of a significant transitory period in my life.
Describe your work process to us?
It’s all very raw and spontaneous. I allow my creative intuition to guide me, conveying on canvas what I feel at that specific moment in time. I am a free spirit with no artistic inhibitions. The fusion of textures, vivid hues and blend of mediums is distinctive to my style of work. It’s about the connection between the overt and subconscious feelings, which elicit emotive responses from the viewer.
Where would we find you when you are not in the studio painting?
Where painting allows me to draw upon my inner feelings, focusing on the Something Beginning With (SBW) furniture range essentially balances my creative scales by harnessing my design skills and attention to detail. The SBW collection is visually captivating and balanced, designed and made in Melbourne and tailored towards the commercial, residential and hospitality sectors. We offer clients the flexibility to customise products to their specific needs, and the benefit of local manufacture means a shorter lead-time.
I am also not a stranger to the Melbourne food and wine scene. I often get my breaky fix at the quietly tucked away Lawson Grove shop in South Yarra and enjoy dining out at Chin Chin and Izakaya Den, for their unique fusion of Asian flavours. Gertrude Street Enoteca and City Wine Shop hit the spot for an impromptu catch up.
Where are you based?
Where can we see your work?
Describe your studio?
My studio is my haven and the place where my ideas and concepts come to life. It’s where I am surrounded by my paints, illustrations, books, plants and collectibles. These are special possessions and provide a sense of comfort and joy.
What are you coveting right now?
I am always looking to improve, whether in my personal or professional life. My art illustrates the journey I have taken and will continue to evolve as I progress through life.
Where are you planning to travel to next?
I would love to visit Odessa in Ukraine and to experience the city of Riga, Latvia. My parents were born in these Eastern European cities and although I am yet to visit them, their influence has been a shaping factor in my upbringing.
I would detour home via Helsinki. I am intrigued by the way the Fins mix and match ravishing architectural styles, displayed on wide streets lit by the mesmerising northern light.
What are you reading?
I am currently reading Jane Kallir’s Egon Schiele’s Women. I’ve always found his work so captivating. His entire oeuvre is expressionistic, emotional and intense.
What are you cooking?
Something not requiring a cookbook but equally as tasty, utilising what random fresh ingredients I have in the fridge! I frequent local small markets for fresh produce and like to mix in flavours and foods from my Russian heritage… I am a sucker for the traditional, heavy comfort meals.