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Meet Brise Birdsong | Painter/Muralist

We are thrilled to be connecting with Brise Birdsong again. Brise is a Painter, Muralist and is also a content partner. Content partners help Voyage in so many ways from spreading the word about the work that we do, sponsoring our mission and collaborating with us on content like this. Check out our conversation with Brise below.

Hi Brise, so great to have you join us again. For folks who might have missed our earlier conversations, can you please take a minute to briefly introduce yourself?
I’m an artist based in San Diego focusing on pet portraits, murals, and other painting commissions of all sizes. I would describe my style as clean and colorful, with my main tool being acrylic paint for my indoor and outdoor work. I like to use bright colors, smooth color transitions, patterns, and outlines. I’ve been painting for 10 years and creating ‘Derpy Pet Portraits’ since 2016 where I create custom pet paintings in a unique and humorous style. I also donate 10% of my earnings from these portraits to animal shelters and rescues.

What is your favorite subject to paint and why?
Currently, my favorite subject to paint would be any kind of dog with wrinkles like pugs and bulldogs. Wrinkles give me a lot to work with and are fun to shade, they also give the painting lots of dimension. I also love painting unique or noticeable features that stand out on any pet such as spots, crazy hair, unique coats, or even underbites. The most difficult portraits are the ones that I feel improve my craft the most and get me out of my comfort zone. Rodents are fun to design, they’re so mischievous!

How did you learn how to paint, and what do you like most about it?
I started painting when I was about 12, I was getting art lessons from my mentor who introduced me to different mediums. I did a couple of projects, but I wasn’t as passionate about it back then. I think that attitude may have come from the frustration of not having a style and not grasping it entirely, don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing teacher and lessons! I haven’t taken any official painting classes, but I started painting regularly in 2011 because of homework assignments I had in Color Theory class in college. We weren’t shown how to use paint, but kind of expected to use it for assignments. Its kind of clicked and started to enjoy it, so I kept experimenting with styles and subjects. I have been pretty loyal to acrylic paints, which I using pretty much daily now, but I’ve been curious about gouache and oils for a while. What I like most about painting, is that its relaxing for me and satisfying to see my work come together as I add the final details. Sometimes I have to make sure to take breaks since I can go on for a long time and not realize it! Also, seeing my clients’ reactions is pretty cool, knowing that my work makes people happy is very gratifying.

What advice do you have for an aspiring pet portrait artist?
Keep practicing! To this day, I am still surprised by my evolution as an artist, it’s very satisfying to see how far you go when you keep at your craft. Ask other artists for advice, there is always something to learn and improve on! Don’t do ANY work for free, exposure doesn’t put food on the table or pay the bills! You will have to learn through experience on how much work you can take on at a time while still producing high-quality work. Oh, and don’t forget to take breaks, burning yourself out is a thing! Document your process and be active on social media. There are so many outlets to expose your work to the world, we have Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, TikTok, or whatever is your jam; it’s basically free advertising! I would also look into creating a website or blog to display your work for future clients to see what you can produce. Nowadays it shouldn’t be too difficult to create websites with platforms like Wix or Squarespace. Look at other artists you admire and take some inspiration on how they do things (but don’t claim anyone’s work as yours). Also, make sure that your portfolio displays the work that you’re actually interested in doing more of. If you have the passion and you put in the many hours work, you can go very far!

Have you painted any animals other than cats and dogs?
Yes! Although the majority of my commissions are dogs and cats, I highly encourage my clients to order pets of any species. Here is a list of the most unique animals I have painted so far: a squirrel, emu, bearded dragon, chinchilla and a few chickens. I’m really hoping I get a chance to paint more rodents, reptiles, horses, and birds. Outside of my Derpy Pet Portraits, I also paint humans and pretty much anything that comes with the project at hand, it keeps things interesting.

Thank you so much again for sharing all of this with us. Before we go, can you share with our readers how they can connect with you, learn more or show support?
I am most active on my Instagram @derpypetportraits, where you get the most updates on cool things like behind the scenes in my studio or giveaways. You can also reach me by direct message or send me an email at derpifyyourpet@gmail.com, which I check often. You can find samples of my art, learn more about the current donation recipient, place an order for Derpy Pet Portraits, check pricing and send inquiries on my website at www.brisebirdsong.com. I am happy to answer any questions and guide you through the process. You may also reach me on my other Instagram at @breezy_bird and check out my other work there.

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