DTLA ART WALK
The Hive Gallery & Studios: Profile
“I love sharing and giving back to my community,” says artist Clara Berta, known for her dynamic abstract paintings. “Here in Downtown LA, our community is getting better. I am very happy about this.” She moved to the area in 2012 after selling her home in Studio City to be closer to the burgeoning art scene. “It’s important to build a community because we need to connect.”
With her vivacious energy, warmth, sense of mission, and savvy business sense, Clara has been fully connecting with local artists and organizations like the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk. She opens her studio during scheduled Art Walks.
Clara Berta in her studio, 2018
Photo by Lucy Birmingham
“I enjoy talking to the public about my work, as I think it helps people to understand and appreciate art more when they have some insight. My talks are more casual, not really lectures, as I like to talk about my life, my history and my creative process and inspirations. What is going on in my life very much relates to my work, so people get to know me and where I am at in my life, which definitely influences my creative output.” She adds, “I have been told by many people that they really enjoy getting to know me and learn about my work through the various Art Walk tours.”
She also holds events with guest speakers on art-related topics. “One speaker was a neuroscientist who talked about color theory,” she explains. “It’s been proven that various colors elicit different responses, so of course color choices in art can be very important.” She cites hospitals as one example. “Hospitals often use soft shades of blues or greens in their waiting rooms, so paintings in those colors can also have a calming effect.”
Her newest series of work is titled “50 Shades of Blue” which she says brings a peaceful Zen-like quality to her studio gallery. “Brighter colors are energizing, so I often use them to create powerful pieces destined for boardrooms or large commercial lobbies where more dynamic works are required,” she explains. “Presently my works are becoming more colorful because I’m moving into a different stage as a mid-career artist, and I like to make a statement with my work by expressing my own unique voice.”
“Clara’s work has continued to blossom and inspire since opening her Downtown studio to the community for studio visits and during the Art Walk,” says Bonnie Tseng, Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk Board member.She likens Art Walk’s mission to Clara’s success as an artist-entrepreneur: “Clara brings art and diverse communities together to thrive in unison.”
Bonnie adds, “Art Walk is more than a self guided tour of galleries. We support the arts, artists, and artist-entrepreneurs though our internships, youth programs, and our micro business and artist entrepreneurship programs.”
Clara shares her first sales experience through the Art Walk. “The buyer first came to my studio last December on an Art Walk tour, and I gave her one of my business cards,” she says. “Six months later she called me to ask if the painting was still available, and she bought it!” The woman revealed that she meditates, and the painting had resonated with her on a spiritual level. “Here look,” says Clara, showing me a photograph of the painting hanging above the woman’s fireplace with a Buddha figure on the mantelpiece. “My talk during the Art Walk tour about how and why I create had moved her. We just really connected.”
Clara’s business card was key to the sale, one of her many marketing techniques. “I’ve been learning a lot about marketing,” she says. “You have to invest in yourself. Next week I’m going on a retreat so I can learn more about business and being a female entrepreneur.”
She has sought advice from various marketing companies and is now active on social media, but she is also courting traditional media as well as building content on her YouTube channel. “Look, we’ve got over 10,000 views on the channel,” she says with surprise after clicking on one of her videos.
Clara created her first video in 2012 which features her first large-scale painting “City Full of Rain,” a multi-media work infused with textures. Since then, her work has evolved through experimentation. Her recent “Flow” series are minimalist, poured paintings flowing with color.
And while she is now represented by three galleries, she continues to expand her sales reach. “One of my artist friends introduced me to a company in Finland that’s turning my work into ‘wall murals,’ or ‘wallpaper,’ if you prefer. So networking with other artists is important.”
Networking with artists, she says, is a building block for her own career, and also an opportunity to give back to the community. Mentoring artists is one method. She also offers advice to artists on marketing their work. “I tell them they need to do their research. They need to show off who they are, and their personality. But you have to be professional. Don’t just show up at a gallery with your work. Now everything’s done online. And get out and network with potential clients, as well as other artists.”
She freely admits to facing difficult times, especially after the death of her husband in 2003. “Art saved me, and it’s been very healing.” She continues, “The ‘why’ is important. Artists need to know why they create. For me, the creating makes me happy. I like to share with other people my work and teachings. My ‘why’ is really about healing.”
Clara’s healing and her years of hard work are paying off. “I think I’m now at a really incredible place in my life where my work is taking off. It’s very exciting. I love what I do.”
Originally posted on downtownartwalk.org.