Bedford Library Showcasing Linoleum Prints by Artist Coco Berkman

Gloucester artist Coco Berkman’s artwork is on exhibit at the Bedford Free Public Library through Jan. 11.

Berkman grew up in Brookline and then later moved to Gloucester as a single parent with two children. Before she began doing art full time, her work as a seamstress was an outlet of creativity while she took art classes in her free time at the Montserrat College of Art in Beverly and at The Museum School in Boston. Animation classes at The Museum School fostered her growth as an artist and led her to discover her love for drawing. 

When Coco Berkman transitioned to linoleum printmaking, her artistic style evolved and developed as she allowed herself to create “imagery from [her] imagination and [her] memory.” Image from Kathy Tarantola – https://ktphoto.com/

In fact, her artistic career began with drawing. She kept a drawing sketchbook as a type of visual journal. Berkman said that “Drawing…is more abstract than writing and enables [her] to tell a story in an abstract way.”

As she transitioned to linoleum printmaking, her artistic style evolved and developed as she allowed herself to create “imagery from [her] imagination and [her] memory.”. 

She draws inspiration from multiple authors whose writing she finds “mysterious and imbued with ‘permissions’.” For example, James Joyce, Raymond Carver, and Sherwood Anderson. She feels that she and these authors use art to create order from a “stream of fear and chaos” by putting something “profound and meaningful” onto a page. 

In addition to the authors, Berkman herself draws inspiration from one artwork that demonstrates “the beauty of what is unconventional in life” – a portrait by Milton Avery which “break[s] the rules in painting,” as she describes, by using bright colors and a unique portrayal of the human form in a style not dissimilar to Berkman’s own.

Berkman offers her story as inspiration and guidance to other beginning artists. 

The library’s exhibition showcases a selection of Berkman’s linoleum prints, including both colored and black-and-white artworks depicting “images that delight her and hopefully others.” Courtesy Image cocoberkman.com

“If you’re a visual artist you need to just draw a lot of very bad drawings, “ she says, and assures that “eventually something is going to land that you find beautiful and evocative and worthy of further attention.”

The library’s exhibition showcases a selection of Berkman’s linoleum prints, including both colored and black-and-white artworks depicting “images that delight her and hopefully others.” Linoleum printmaking is a Japanese-inspired artistic style that involves carving an image onto a linoleum sheet, then transferring the image to paper or another medium by applying a layer of ink onto the sheet and pressing the paper on top. In an interview with the Boston Voyager, Berkman describes printmaking as “the most unpredictable of processes.”

Berkman’s prints are available for purchase at the 13 Forest Gallery in Arlington, the Square Circle Gallery in Rockport; the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative; her Etsy shop, “Coco Berkman,” and her website, cocoberkman.com. The library’s exhibition is open to the public during regular library hours and is handicapped accessible.

Mary Stewart is a 2022 Bedford High School graduate. She is currently a first year student at Vassar College.


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Debbie Korisky
1 month ago

Amazing, beautiful neighbor artist!!

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