We had the good fortune of connecting with Brise Birdsong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brise, how does your business help the community?
I decided to donate 10% of my earnings from each painting to animal shelters and rescues as soon as I started Derpy Pet Portraits. I knew that I wanted to give back somehow and find a way to have my art do so much more than just decorate. I began by finding dog rescues in my neighborhood in order to make a difference in my immediate community; the first being the Rescued Dog and Second Chance Dog Rescue. I chose the next organizations throughout San Diego County, and eventually branched out as my clientele would recommend more shelters around the nation. I alternate donation recipients every 6 months or so in order to allow others a chance and also welcome recommendations for the next one. I honor requests if my clients prefer to have their order’s proceeds to go directly towards a specific shelter they want to support. Some of my donation recipients have included: Helen Woodward Animal Center, Kira Rescue, Baja Dog Rescue, Humane Society of Imperial County, and most recently; One Dane at a Time. The list goes on! I don’t have strict rules or schedules; donation recipients are eligible as long as they are a legitimate organization that seeks to improve the lives of animals in need. It’s a great way for my clients to know that they are also part of a positive effort, all while getting some cool art.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Ever since I can remember, I was obsessed with drawing and knew from an early age that I would become an artist. Around 2011, I started painting with acrylics regularly and experimented with different styles and subjects. I like to separate my work into two categories; first, I have my humorous “Derpy Pet Portraits” style, where I paint goofy looking pets with bug eyes and clean lines. My other style, which I consider my personal work and was developed first; includes paintings and murals of varying topics from plants, to animals, and portraits of people with boldly patterned backgrounds. I believe my pet portraits stand apart from others for its combination of unique humor, bug eyes, clean lines and smooth gradations of color. I started off doing this particular goofy looking style around 2013, when I was painting a utility box in Mission Valley that I covered in dogs of varying breeds (it’s now been painted over). I really enjoyed that style, so I started making gifts for family and friends here and there with that particular goofy look. I realized there were so many potential clients because after all, San Diego is a dog-friendly city. I got myself organized and built a brand around it, starting with calling them “Derpy Pet Portraits”. I designed a logo, website, and other branding necessities to make it official. Since then, it has just snowballed into something amazing, I have a lot of fun creating these dorky paintings. It’s exciting to know that my style has changed over time and continues to evolve and that there will always be something new to learn. Another part of painting that I keeps me coming back for more is the relaxing component of the intense focus needed at times. Painting is my version of meditation, “getting into the zone” lets me clear my mind and focus just on the task at hand, I can paint for hours at a time no problem! Some things that I’ve learned over the years is to be patient, your art will improve as long as you keep creating and practicing. Don’t be afraid to ask others for tips and advice on how to improve, everyone has their unique perspective that may bring lots of insight. There’s always room for improvement and to be humble no matter how advanced you have become. Lastly, sometimes its the mistakes that force you to create new solutions and shortcuts that you will continue to use in the future.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The itinerary would definitely revolve around food and art. My first stop would be for some caffeine at Jaunt Coffee Roasters in Mira Mesa, my most recent obsession. Make sure to call or stop by early for their empanadas, you won’t regret it! If I was showing someone new to town, I would take them to stroll around Balboa Park for the beautiful architecture, gardens and museums. Another great spot would be Mt. Soledad for its stunning view of most of San Diego. I would definitely drop by Barrio Logan for some tacos, art crawls, shops and giant murals in Chicano Park. Once you get hungry again, I would go to El Salvador Pupuseria Y Restaurante in City Heights on University. They have amazing pupusas and fried plantains, you won’t be disappointed with anything on the menu! Another great place to eat would be Tasty Noodle House in Convoy, they’re always on point and their dumplings are to die for! Can you tell I was hungry writing this? If you want to wrap up the day with some craft beer, you can’t go wrong with North Park or Ocean Beach. I also would recommend ending the day with watching the sunset in Sunset Cliffs.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Of course, I have to thank my family, friends and followers for their love and support throughout my artistic career. I’m very grateful to my clients and supporters online, they are some pretty awesome people. I could go on all day about each individual that helped and encouraged me, which I truly appreciate. For now, I’ll just include my top five supporters and inspirations: My parents have always been supportive and I owe them a great deal for encouraging me since I was very little. I am so grateful to have such amazing parents that made my artistic journey possible. My dad was a pharmacist and my mom was a pharmacy tech for about 25 years in Holtville, CA; owning and operating Parker’s Pharmacy until retirement. I look up to them as an example of what you can accomplish with hard work and a little elbow grease. I started getting art lessons from my mentor Miguel Godoy, when I was about 12 or 13. He introduced me to new tools like charcoal, paint, oil pastel, spray paint, and more advanced penciling techniques. Miguel opened my young mind to possibilities and that I had the potential to grow so much more as an artist. I still bug him for advice to this day, he’s a great person and artist. Joel, my husband, has been very supportive since the day we met. He helps me in so many ways starting with moral support, giving business advice, accompanying me at events, and taking awesome videos and photos of my work. Even though he isn’t an artist, he has a good eye and great ideas and is mostly funny. He is the best partner in crime and appreciate his love and support. I want to give my last shoutout to my step-daughter for inspiring me to be a better person and artist. She amazes me with her creativity, courage and eagerness to learn, she’s a really cool kid.
Other: My other art: https://www.instagram.com/breezy_bird/