A Conversation with Brie Moreno



Thanks to an awful hangover and me being a useless lump, I came across Brie Moreno‘s work when I fell into an Instagram hole and found her feed. With garish colours, existential toys and snapshots of the terrifyingly prosaic, her aesthetic seemed to cater to babies on mushrooms, aka me.  Over time, as Brie has shared more and more of her own work, I’ve very much come to appreciate the soured iconography of aging pop culture, deteriorating toys, spiders and powerful protagonists—all integral elements to the images she creates. Wanting to know more about someone who loves sad old toys and cowboys and who creates beautiful work featuring these characters, I asked Brie a few questions. 




A lot of your images make me think of lost toys, and subsequently childhood. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Ottawa, Canada but I spent a lot of my childhood in Cornwall which is a really kitschy, outdated country town about 30 min away from Ottawa, since that’s where my grandparents lived. Their home was right by the river and was always filled with lots of natural light and my grandmother kept lots of colourful glass bottles all along the windowsill which made the room extra radiant. I remember going for walks with my grandmother’s dalmatian named Summer. I drew a lot when I was little and Summer was always the main character in my drawings.

What’s your process like? Are the images drawn on a computer?

I usually do very simple sketches mainly to understand perspective and proportion since drawing straight on the computer really confuses me. Once I get my sketch on Photoshop I just go over all the lines digitally. Sometimes I use watercolour and ink.

There’s a recurring motif of spiders and other bugs in your work. What do you these creatures mean to you?
I love all bugs except earwigs. I particularly love putting spiders in my work because they’re artists by nature… they spin webs. I’m also drawn to their symmetry and in that way if I ever feel like a drawing I’m making is a little too chaotic I’ll just throw in a spider to balance everything out.

Did you watch cartoons as a child? Do you still watch cartoons?

I did! I was always particularly drawn to those movies that would incorporate real life people and animation like Pete’s Dragon, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Mary Poppins and The Three Caballeros. But more than anything, I was drawn to fantasy movies that involved crystals, fog and cloaks… Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, The Neverending Story…stuff like that. Now I watch more anime than traditional cartoons, but I’m open to anything really.

Some of the images in your work remind me a lot of those instances when you’re small and the only toys left to play with at preschool are the weird vintage ones with the peeling off sticker faces, or when your dad takes you to a garage sale and the only toy-ish things there are like hard teddies with moveable limbs.  Does this resonate at all with you, or have you ever had experiences like this, from which you draw inspiration?

Definitely! I love the underdog toys especially ones left behind from the ’80s and ’90s. Ebay has a great collection of really weird action figures and plush dolls that directly inspire some of the characters I make. Anytime I go thrifting (online or in real life) I always take away something that I can use in my work. Lately, I’ve been trying to deal with more serious themes by using my childlike characters and settings as catalysts to make what I’m trying to convey.




What’s your favourite colour?

Salmon pink.

Do you feel like art school has helped your art or hindered it?  Do you ever feel pressured to cater to academia?

I am super stubborn and hate to tip my hat to school for my ability to create, but I can’t lie to myself… it has helped me purely because it keeps me on track with deadlines and always having a project on the go. I’m constantly stressed and cry a lot but I think it’s good to feel that sort of pressure—it keeps me on my toes and makes the quiet moments I have when I’m finished all my work a lot sweeter.

How do you feel about cowboys?

I love their bold fashion choices and I really like the movie Valley of the Gwangi.

Do you feel like social media has affected your art practice in a positive or negative way?

I’ve learned so much from other artists I follow on social media and I owe them thanks for a lot of the enthusiasm I have for making comics. The negative aspects like feeling like I’m not as good as the artists I’m following all derive from my own deep-seeded self-loathing that I’m trying to unlearn everyday.

Do you find that using Instagram to share your work makes you feel inspired or anxious or feel any other way?

It used to make me anxious about not being productive or about people thinking I’m not genuine in what I’m posting or that I’m annoying. But I can’t change other people’s perceptions of who I am, especially if I’m really just being me… a chill person who makes funny drawings.

Don’t miss our Brie Moreno Artist T-shirt available HERE ;)