Museum of Brisbane

Artist Profile: Tori-Jay Mordey


You are an established Indigenous Australian illustrator, what makes you tick and what inspires a lot of your works?

I am always super emotionally driven when it comes to my art, whether it is my longingly expressive cartoon characters or my more contemporary Indigenous art-based work – they all have certain emotions attached to them. It is my way of being able to express myself without needing to explain it to the viewer, to have them feel what I feel and connect with them.


Where did your love of illustration come from?

As a kid I struggled a lot with a speech impairment and reading difficulties, so when I used to get books out, I always highly relied on the illustrations inside to tell me the stories. From an early age my love for illustrations and art really kicked in and continued to grow as I got older.


What does a typical day in your office/studio look like (if there is such a thing)?

It really depends. When I am working at my desk it usually involves either loud music, podcasts, cup of green tea, used cups still sitting at my desk, or an occasional dog sleeping by my feet if I am babysitting.


You have a workshop coming up (Painting Portraits) at Museum of Brisbane, what can people expect to learn and takeaway from this workshop?

I mainly want to create a space where people of any skill level are welcome. I want to be able to show everyone some cool tips and tricks with painting portraits, and in general to have fun. My goal is for everyone to be able to take home their own painting that is uniquely theirs.


Any upcoming projects or collaborations you would like to share with us? Something new you are working on?

I currently have two group exhibitions in the works – both showcasing next year. The first exhibition is about labour of love – pushing your limits as an artist when producing time consuming work. The second is about First Nations Australian illustrators depicting strong and inspirational female figures. I am excited to produce some new work for both. I will be keeping people updated about it over on my Instagram (@tori_jyeay)


Artworks (left to right): Tori-Jay Mordey, Boy (2019), Elenor (2018), Benton (2016), Tori-Jay (2016).