Brise Birdsong is a local San Diego artist that grew up in Imperial Valley, California. You may recognize her illustrative style on numerous electrical boxes across San Diego and now, at SILO in Makers Quarter™. Her stylized characters and love of pattern work in fun color palettes has become Brise’s signature calling card. Brise has also recently had her work published in an award winning children’s book
As a student at the Art Institute in Mission Valley, Brise studied animation. Excited to be studying art at all, Brise quickly learned that the digital world wasn’t a love connection and found a passion in painting and drawing. “I really like hands-on stuff,” Brise declares, “I like sketching and painting and the whole program was very digital and technical, and I am not a computer nerd. I learned a lot in college, but being out of college has allowed me to do more of my own thing.” So Brise, stuck with drawing and eventually developed her own style over time. “Initially, I was worried about having to have a personal style and standing out from everybody else but the less I worried about it the better I got.” Brise now draws in her sketchbook daily and especially on lunch breaks where she works as a teacher where she once studied. “You never know where a good idea will come from,” Brise remarks.
What does Maker mean to you?
“The first thing that comes to mind is somebody who creates genuine stuff or generates their own ideas from within. It feels so good to make something by hand and to know that that’s the only copy that exists. I like making things from everyday objects or symbols and making it more special. If people see my work, they might associate memories that they have with the symbol I painted that I didn’t even think of. To me, in this mural at SILO, I created a pattern out of matches just for fun, but somebody else might relate to it on a deeper level. I don’t necessarily try to make anything deep, I just enjoy painting. The matches idea came to me from an old Smokey The Bear commercial that had animated matches that took on different shapes of forest animals.”
What do you enjoy most about living and working in San Diego?
“Definitely the weather. I like the fact that I can go and do stuff during the day and it’s not too hot like it is where I am from in Imperial Valley. I feel like the art scene in my home town is growing but I like it here plus when I was a kid I used to come to San Diego a lot on the weekends so it feels like a second home to me.”
Any advice or words of wisdom/hopes or dreams pertaining to our City’s future that you would like to share?
“I’m new to the art scene because I’ve only recently started taking it more seriously, but I feel like San Diego is definitely more open to art. I feel like my hometown wouldn’t have too many opportunities for that. People out there have different mindsets and would probably be upset if someone painted on the side of the street where as here it’s a bit more accepted. I got a chance to paint some of the electrical boxes with Jason at Visual so it was really nice to improve some neighborhoods and add some color to the area. I like that there are projects out there for local people. It makes the street more lively, more personality. I like that about San Diego. It’s hard to start from scratch not knowing anybody in the art world here in San Diego. I don’t know many galleries, the first real show I went to was the Cohort Collective show at Subtext Gallery. I hope there are more opportunities for local artists in the Community and more opportunities to collaborate with local companies whether it’s murals or events.”
Photos and article by Carly Ealey