Local artist profile: Bridie O’Toole
THIS week we chat with digital artist Bridie O’Toole
What motivated you to become an artist and what brought you to Bendigo?
I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer several years ago, which brought me to Bendigo.
Art has always been a huge part of my life and continues to comfort me during challenging times. I can’t ever remember not drawing.
As a kid, we always had colouring books and a big basket of textures and pencils. I have fond memories of my mum drawing pictures and me trying to copy them.
It was my favourite subject at school and the only one I was ever good at.
How would you describe your artistic style and how did you develop it?
I am a self-taught artist, or really just a girl who enjoys expressing her thoughts through pictures.
I work digitally, which means I create my work using an app on my tablet. This allows me to change colours, alter lines and overlay patterns and images.
I am into digital collage at the moment. It’s like finding your jigsaw pieces and creating your own puzzle.
My work is always evolving; it never finishes developing.
Are there any particular themes that you feature in your artworks? What draws you to these?
I mostly draw female images, as they represent a feeling or reaction to my environment.
It’s my way of releasing thoughts without speaking.
This is a constant theme for me, as it’s an urge I can only satisfy by making these feelings visible.
Which other artists inspire you and why?
Artists that step outside the box.
An artist that puts their thoughts down on paper and shares this with the public is a brave person.
We never want to be judged, so I applaud artists that have the courage to share intimate pieces.
I spend many hours scrolling on Instagram. There is so much talent out there, I think they all play some role in my art.
What are some fond memories you have from your career so far?
I have really enjoyed working with my sister Frankie O. She has introduced me to the Bendigo art community, which has welcomed me with open arms.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me and loved my art.
How has your practice been affected by COVID?
Since my diagnosis I have given up work to focus on my health.
COVID has been something that could potentially have devastating health effects for me.
However, I try to stay involved in the community. There are a lot of alternative ways of showing art these days.
How can people check out your work and, most importantly, purchase it?
I always post my work online: Instagram @totooleydoodles and Facebook search Bridie Margaret O’Toole.
I have recently marketed myself at the Trove Market and Blue Wombat.
I am exhibiting, with my sister, in the BOS – the Bendigo Open Studio – on the long weekend in March if anyone wants to check out my work.
What would you say to aspiring artists who are thinking of making a go of the artistic life?
I would encourage people young and old to create what makes them happy.
Trust your instincts, grow connections, work hard, get involved with community events and learn to sell, sell, sell.
I have found one thing leads to another, so just put yourself out there!