Local artist profile: Lorraine Brigdale

September 10, 2023 BY

Happy as!: Lorraine Brigdale has had a huge 2023, with her involvement in a number of big ticket events, exhibitions and projects. Photo: SUPPLIED

THIS week we chat with stunning Yorta Yorta multimedia artist and First Nations Engagement Curator at Bendigo Art Gallery, Lorraine Brigdale.


What initially motivated you to become an artist?

While I’ve worked professionally for many years, I’ve been an artist all my life. I have memories of being a small child and doing paintings and making little buildings and cities in the sand. I would use things I had found on the farm and make all sorts of artworks from them. Art was my favourite subject all the way through school and I’ve always experimented with different mediums. This has continued and art has truly been the centre of my life, other than my family.


How would you describe your style?

I am very influenced by nature. I use natural materials in my work and my painting subjects are led by the materials I am using. My paints are made from ochres and minerals which I grind up in a mortar and pestle, then I mix the ground ochres together with acacia gum which makes traditional European style watercolours. I only paint with my own hand-made paints, not using any commercially made art materials.


Which other artists inspire you?

I am inspired to look for my own style by the artists I like.

I learned the traditional coil style weaving of my Yorta Yorta mob, and other traditional Victorian weavers, and I wove baskets and mats for a long time until I felt the need to try something new.

I made three tall vessels woven in the coil weaving style, and painted each vessel with different coloured ochre. This 3D work won me my first art award at the Koorie Heritage Trust Art Show in Melbourne in 2018.


What are some highlights you have from your career?

This year has been a big year for me. I was invited to show a large coiled vessel in the Melbourne Now exhibition at NGV Fed Square. It’s the absolute highlight of my career so far. Watching my woven earrings and necklaces on the models on the catwalk of Melbourne Fashion Week was a surreal moment. As a part of NGKM art collective we designed a large public art piece, which is now standing in front of the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre in Lonsdale Street Melbourne


How can people check out your work?

I show my work in Aboriginal galleries and exhibitions. I’m also working on some public art projects. If you are on social media, my instagram page and Facebook are reliable places to see what I am working on. Instagram – @Designnomaddiaries, Facebook – Lorraine Brigdale Artist.


What would you say to young regional aspiring artists who are thinking of making a go of the creative life?

If you are wanting to branch out into a creative life you should take your art seriously and make sure you work on your art projects on a regular basis. To make it in a creative field takes a lot of work and dedication. Don’t be put off by seeming failures, but instead use these experiences to examine your work and discover where you can improve. Enter exhibitions where you can and mix with other creative people who have the same experiences as you and can inspire you to keep going. Try to not be downhearted when things are not happening, because you really never know when something comes along that can change everything.