Brie Jorgensen: It doesn't matter what anyone else gets out of it
By Sonia Hadj Said
Art by Brie Jorgensen
Once you have a look at Brie's Instagram profile and its 9,281 followers, you might be surprised when you hear her say "I hated drawing!" and then repeat it again "I hated drawing, I hated drawing." Well, the 23-year-old from Melbourne may have felt that before, but she undoubtedly has a talent for it nonetheless. A talent she uses to help young people all over the world feel less isolated in a funny, approachable way. Brie's cartoon drawings are simple and yet touch upon the very complex struggles of millennials : issues about relationships, self-care, mental health and the eveyday thoughts that go through our heads.
"It all started back in 2015 after I broke up with my partner. That was kind of the only place I could express myself. I just decided to get it out there in the world because that way I won't have to deal with it anymore. I don't have to feel whatever it is, I'll just put that in a drawing. It was a nice kind of feeling at the time, so I just kept doing it and it has grown."
But while Brie’s drawings initially stemmed from her need to express her feelings about a break-up, with time it wasn’t just about heartbreak anymore., It became more fun, kind of like a journey that has been a reflection of her, and as it turns out many other women’s, lives. But "for the most part it's something I struggled with myself or had issues with and have to understand. Or something I've seen out there that doesn't make sense to me, and then finding a way to draw it, suddenly it makes sense. It's like putting another piece of a jigsaw in place."
Brie isn't your typical struggling artist stereotype. She loves her job "as an artist manager. "I really love it and can't imagine not doing that." It's refreshing to meet an artist who lets art just be that: art. Something you create because you're feeling a certain way and then it's done, without you thinking about money. In fact, for her "the whole mixing of art and money, it makes everything feel very dirty."
Still, Brie has her own demons that she has to fight every day like so many of us. "Courage is something that I struggle with. I really love creating and doing all this makes me really happy, but the courage to put something out in the world and knowing that other people are going to look at it, they're going to judge it, they're going to apply it to their lives, that's a really daunting feeling, because all of a sudden it's not just mine anymore, it's theirs. That's pretty cool, but also scary, and I think it's a big thing to let go of what you've put into something and just let people take it as they want."
Does she ever get overwhelmed and think of stopping? "Every day, every day! I still can't believe even five people followed me, it's so ridiculous! And it means a lot to me when people come to me and say how much they appreciate it, especially my work on mental health, and there's a lot to be said in this area. I like to feel that people can get some kind of support, a laugh, out of a little cartoon."
There must be a magic elixir to this balanced life as an artist. Could there be anything more beautiful than creating work and having people love it without even expecting anything? "It doesn't matter what anyone else gets out of it," Brie says. "You need to be happy in order for the world around you to be happy. It's pretty easy to let things get the better of you in this day and age, so bring it back to that root, do whatever you need to do. I jokingly compare it to the oxygen mask on the airplane : you need to help yourself before you can help anyone else in this situation. So if being creative in whatever your creative way is makes you happy, that's what you should do and everything else will follow."