Swept Up In A Strange Supernova: Laura Norman & Lauren Bereska

tgaf Laura Norman (author of Find A Green Crayon 1996 Sequel) w. Demi Krympton DHS Homecoming 1995

tgaf Lauren Bereska (creator of Into The Light 1994 Sequel illustration) w. Jason Zahorchak DHS Homecoming 1997

If you’re a frequent visitor to this blog right now you’re probably thinking to yourself,”Wait, what the hell is this? Did TGAF change direction? These look like normal high school kids… and… good lord (choke)! They’re at the prom!? Blasphemy!!”

If these thoughts are passing thru your head, then rest assured: your assumptions are just partially right.

One of the best things about working on this project is the excitement of discovering previously unknown material made by previously unknown teen artists who worked in the peculiar Towson-Glen Arm style while culturally sharing little more than a geographic locale with the movement’s other, slightly better known visionaries.

For those who experienced TGA first hand, it’s easy to look back and think that since the defining works of the north County underground were made by a relatively small clique of creators there wouldn’t be much variation in terms of the artists’ personal lifestyles. This was a scene made up of mainly nerdy suburban teenage outcasts who collectively possessed a hyper-empathic political consciousness, but for a short time during the height of its popularity (1994-1995) TGA’s influence engulfed a segment of northern Baltimore County’s teen culture like a strange supernova. Even young folks with only a thread bare connection to the scene seemed to get at least subconsciously swept up in its obscure moment of glory.

Two artists who contributed wonderfully to the TGA legacy – possibly without even knowing it – were Laura Norman and Lauren Bereska. As you can see in their photos above, neither of these artists were teenage outcasts, not by a long shot. By the way, both of their pictures come from Dulaney High School yearbooks: Norman is at the top in the foreground in a photo from the 1996 edition (courtesy of Andy Devos). Prom Queen Bereska appears below with her Prom King Jason Zahorchak in a photo that comes from the ’94 edition (courtesy of Cory Davolos). Coincidentally, a moody photo taken by Zahorchak appears as a graphic accompanying the Laura Norman poem reprinted below.

Despite the fact that Laura Norman and Lauren Bereska seemed to be wholesome All American girls their two only known TGA-style creations each speak for themselves as stellar examples of the transcendent revolutionary weirdness which  came to define the movement’s approach.

So Laura Norman and Lauren Bereska , please, c’mon outta the woodwork and get in touch, we’d all love to know more about your early/mid 90’s days as unintentionally(?) genre busting outsider artists supreme, and whether or not Towson-Glen Arm had any direct impact on your creative works, and if you made any other work in the TGA style before or after you contributed these two incredible pieces to Dulaney High’s “Sequel” literary magazine…

tgaf Sequel 1996 Laura Norman Find A Green Crayon

Originally published by Dulaney High School in the 1996 edition of the ‘Sequel’ literary magazine (courtesy of Greg Storms)

Sequel 1994 Lauren Bereska In The Light

‘To The Light’ by Lauren Bereska ; linocut print; originally published by Dulaney High School in the 1994 edition of the ‘Sequel’ literary magazine (courtesy of Graham Dodge)

This entry is dedicated to the great contemporary artist Signe Pierce

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