Baylee Berglund, named “Best Emerging Artist” by the Ogden Arts Festival (image courtesy the artist)
Baylee Berglund is a creative force, a multifaceted artist and an inspiration to anyone chasing their dreams. Named Ogden Arts Festival 2022 “Best Emerging Artist,” Berglund is an artist with a skill set that seems to be growing by the day.
A look at Berglund’s pieces gives you a glimpse of the world from a different set of eyes. Imagine looking at an object and watching it float to the foreground, be immersed in a new color palette, and force everything behind it to deconstruct into simple shapes. Visualize a crowd of people with a fractal lens in front of it and the sharpness turned all the way up. These are the types of scenes Berglund is able to create, in various ways. “I would describe my work as an ambitious way to make things inviting to the eye, intricate and different,” she says.
The evolution of Berglund’s work is exciting to watch as it continues and, according to her, has been a bit surprising. “I started as a #2 pencil kind of artist and now look at me.” A two year art program that required a closing submission of 30 pages from a sketchbook and 15 completed projects based around a central theme of the artists’ choice inspired Berglund’s modern style. She says that selecting the theme “psychedelic” for her journey in the program gave her a wide range of ideas to experiment with, which has left a mark on the work she creates today. “This program taught me how to critique myself and my inspiring artists, and to develop this artistic urge inside of me.”
Berglund’s is not limited to any one medium. “I’ve opened myself up and allowed myself to try new things and that in itself has taken me very far,” she explains. Experimentation with acrylic and oil paints, gouache, different brands of markers and pencils, cutouts, clay, resin, found objects and other additions make each of her pieces unique and attractive to different viewers. “I do not deny any idea that comes into my brain and sometimes that means trying out a new medium and expanding my options for creating,” she says. While the pieces themselves show Berglund’s artistic diversity, what they are created on is also different from piece to piece. You can find her art on paper or canvas, framed or printed, but also on the inside of dishes and trays, on stickers and puzzles, and even clothing. This approach lends helpful to those who collect art in more ways than just wall-hanging.
A Berlgund signature is works featuring a cluster of overlapping line-drawn faces, rich in color with assorted degrees of connectedness to each of the facial structures. The faces are surrounded by abstract shapes, following the same color scheme, which allows you to wander around the work and not be immediately focused on any one point. Not all of her collages are designed this way though – some of her pieces, such as “Among the People,” highlight each individual face as its own, still intertwined, but with more of a layered approach, while others, like “It’s a Disco Circus,” include faces of different depths and sizes in an indoor scene, all enveloped in a sea of patterns, surprises and the sense of existing in a dream-state where nothing makes sense – and everything makes sense – at the same time.
Not all of her collages include faces and not all of her work is a collage at all. She also dabbles in her own interpretation of classic still-life, portrait and scenic paintings, still rich with psychedelic flair and impressive technique. She has created large-scale murals and tiny, intricate pieces. Some works remain two dimensional, while others protrude and bevel. There is no one way to describe the art Berglund creates. You could try “exploratory” or “unencapsulated” but, even still, neither word would encompass her entire portfolio.
Berglund took commissions for a large portion of 2021, but has since refocused on her own ideas. “I dedicated almost a whole year doing something that is totally out of my comfort zone, but allowed some critical skills into my portfolio. I started to learn properties of painting and drawing that I never took seriously. Now I can take these new skills and make my intricate psychedelia world work even more surreal and add so much depth.”
We can all take note of the inspiring drive Berglund has to accomplish her goals. “I just want to create art for the rest of my life and be as ambitious as my thoughts. I have enough thoughts to fill a lifetime of projects and time consumed by artwork. My goal is to have a big warehouse-style art studio with enough room for all of my interests and outlets, a place where I can be big and messy and fulfill the craziest ideas I may have. I want to have solo shows in big galleries. I want there to be space for me to talk about what I’m doing and explain how big (the) process is in my creations. I want a huge portfolio and enough work to back myself up as an incredible artist. I also want to have the time to execute these huge ideas I have. One day this will be all I have to do.”
With the summer market and festival season nearing the end, Berglund will continue selling pieces on her website, summartt.com, and through Instagram, where she also updates viewers on where to find her shows as they arrive.
Angelika Brewer is an award-winning poet, public speaker, journalist and a creativity enthusiast from Ogden, Utah. She finds artistry where it is hiding and advocates for its continuation, which contributes to her love of writing about local, upcoming artists. She loves her family and her animals, traveling and starting a new craft every two weeks, but only sometimes completing one.