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Real Musicians, Real Jobs 

Wednesday, Mar 16 2005
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Fuck our society's love for the starving artist and the smacked-out musician. Who ever said an artist had to live the life of a dirty dog in order to create great art? Does possessing the discipline to hold a steady job really deny you the ability to be creative? These stereotypes sure do sound absurd when put to paper, but people actually buy this crap. And this is why Bert Bergen's story must be told.

First, Bergen pounds skins for the local neo-krautrock power trio Appreciation, which is currently touring the country with Japanese psych-rockers DMBQ. The band has released three discs since 2002, and Bergen handmade every single sleeve.

Second, he is an in-demand silk-screen artisan, whose show posters, in my opinion, are the most striking flier art to be found pasted to our city's walls; if a poster of decapitated and beached whales has ever caught your eye, you have Bergen to thank for it.

Third, here is a man who knows how to sew really, really well. You will always find him planted behind a table selling his designs at each and every one of the Mission's showcases for independent designers. He meticulously crafts these fabric collages of whales sewn to shirts. (Whales are his thing.)

Fourth, the guy is a sculpture and multimedia artist. Within the past year, he has participated in at least two gallery exhibitions: one at Balazo/Mission Badlands Gallery and another at his Mission studio space. Obviously, the latter required him to become a curator, too.

Fifth, Bergen for the past fours years has worked full time, "at a nonprofit called Health Initiatives for Youth as the training coordinator and office manager."

Hate to sound didactic, but our culture needs a few more stories about talented, hard-working, well-adjusted artists like Bert Bergen.

About The Author

Justin F. Farrar

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