Berriblue is a Polish / Irish artist & designer based in Porto, Portugal. She built her reputation in Dublin, where she was a successful street artist under her earlier pseudonym, JTB.
Prominent in her work are themes of religion, sexuality, mental health and personal identity. Her pieces and series often incorporate a strong visual narrative, using artwork as a form of catharsis to explore problems and ideas.
Though well known for her street art, Berriblue is also a successful studio artist. She has had six solo shows to date, and her work is held in collections in Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Mozambique, and Los Angeles.
She is a trained printmaker and graphic designer. Her personal belief that artists should try everything, constantly learning and re-inventing, has allowed her to work figuratively and abstractly, in 2D and 3D, using performance and production, in the studio and on the street. By balancing dichotomies she can avoid getting stuck in one place and pursue true creative expression.
Berriblue is a Polish / Irish artist currently living and practicing in Porto, Portugal. She grew up in Gdansk, in northern Poland, and moved to Dublin with her mother at the age of 13. She had a troubled childhood, and themes of depression and rejection are often apparent in her work.
At 18 she attended the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, specialising in fine print, and at this time she started to proliferate her work on the street. Not finding any particular allure in street art culture per se, she thought of it as a way to avoid curatorial filters and set her work in a responsive, dynamic, and above all living environment. She quickly earned a reputation on the Dublin art scene for her unique illustrative style and the iconographic symbolism in her work. She took part in a number of group exhibitions and her first two solo shows 'JTB' and 'An Exhibition of Prints and Drawings' were met with some critical acclaim. Her work appeared in anthologies of Irish street art and she received many commissions during this time.
Unfortunately, she was experiencing a lot of difficulty in her personal life and in 2014 had to drop out of college due to the unmanageable financial burden. Later in the year she held her third solo show, 'The Studio,' a public performance in Temple Bar's Filmbase venue. This show challenged the stigma surrounding mental health and depression and encouraged members of the public to come forward with stories of their experiences. Some of the work produced is now held in a private collection in Dublin. Her move away from figurative, illustrative pieces in this exhibition marked a changing point, maturing and freeing her approach to producing work.
Over the following two years she undertook a period of personal development, married, and traveled Europe with her husband, looking for a place to live and work. In 2016 she arrived in Porto and immediately arrived on the street art scene. She began producing work at a ferocious rate and launched a line of luxury silk scarves. In January 2018 she took part in a group show with prominent street artists Hazul and Godmess, and later that year held her first solo show in Portugal, Tension.
In 2019, BerriBlue began working on azulejo street art and studio pieces, murals glazed onto on ceramic tiles – a traditional Portuguese technique, which is very common in her adopted home city of Porto. In 2019 and 2020, Berri held two further solo shows in Porto, and exhibited with Gallerie Sonia Monti, in Paris' "Golden Triangle." In 2021, she has been invited to exhibit at the XIII Florence Biennale.
Her iconic aesthetic is now a common sight on the streets of downtown Porto and her pieces continue to sell to private buyers and collectors and has been featured in local and national media in Portugal, and internationally.
Berriblue's work explores character and context through a private visual language that has coalesced over many years of working in different media, each new project adding a memetic nuance to her personal symbology, so that her portfolio, seemingly eclectic on the surface, can be seen as one continuously evolving narrative.
Central to this narrative is the animalistic trichotomy of life, sex, and death, and the inherent denial in the struggle between ego, id, and bone. Reality and truth in the narrative can only be achieved by considering pieces for what they really are – dead decorative artworks, with life imbued through the creative process and conceptual contextualisation. Eschewing cleaner, more perfect forms, her studio work is often realised on simple plywood and packing paper, the inevitable faults and crinkles adding to the ephemeral, real, living nature of each piece.
Her street art, her silk scarves, her studio work, and even her personal photography all form part of a bigger picture; Delicate, figurative pastels captive in loud, acrylic expressions; Boys with rosy lips and delicate makeup; Cats and devils; Mothers and lovers; Emotional, carnal characters, brashly conveyed on decaying, yellowing newsprint; Serene figures, truly female, on fluid, whorled wood; A complete and yet ever-developing rendition of the experience of an animal human being.