Vibrant, detailed, and thought-provoking—these are a few of the words that come to mind when viewing the work of Elizabeth Bergeland. I was automatically drawn to Elizabeth’s bright use of colors and wondrous life-like qualities showcased with every brush stroke.
Elizabeth Bergeland is a painter and illustrator based in Philadelphia, PA. Shortly after receiving her BFA in painting alongside an Anthropology degree from the University of Colorado in 2006, Elizabeth made her way to the East Coast. It was in Philly where she continued to build on her craft, working primarily in oils, watercolor, and pencil, all while playing with negative space within her paintings here and there, too!
Elizabeth takes a closer examination at seemingly straightforward topics and realistically portrays them in her paintings—reimagining these topics in graphic spaces to uncover more than what’s on the surface. More recently, her work has shifted toward the topic of masculinity and, more specifically, how American boys are raised.
She explained that before she starts a new piece, she takes time to sit down with each subject and interview them to gain a deeper perspective and understanding of how they’ve been impacted by masculine ideals they may have experienced in their life.
When Elizabeth is not creating her latest life-sized masterpiece, you can find her illustrating her next children’s book! Her second book with Ben Brashares, The Great Whipplethorp Bug Collection, is a remarkable tale that takes a closer look at gender roles and fatherhood through the lens of a child who wants to create his own identity. The fine lines and cheerful details throughout the book are truly every child’s—and parent’s— imaginative dream! My 8-year-old enjoyed every page, and the imagery alongside the words takes you to a different place while you’re reading.
I was so excited to sit down and spend an afternoon with Elizabeth in her Philly studio. The mid-day light poured through the windows, and I felt like a giddy child walking about her space, sparkly-eyed at all of her beautiful artwork.
Tune into my chat with Elizabeth below, and check out more of her work here.