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Brittany Segal: “I’m stuck in San Diego for the rest of my life”

We talked to the 26-year-old artist about her passion for animals, her first solo show in San Diego, and why she’ll never leave her hometown


Brittany Segal | Photo by Joshua Levi

Brittany Segal’s live/work studio in Golden Hill is all giant windows and tall ceilings—and there is art everywhere. Paintings, drawings, bronze sculptures, rubber molds, handmade vases, you name it. When it comes to picking a medium, Segal doesn’t discriminate. “I’m going to start working with concrete probably later today,” she says. “Because I figured, with concrete you don’t need to heat anything up.”

The 26-year-old—with a clear penchant for the dark and dramatic, both in her art and visual appearance—has been part of the local art scene her whole life. Growing up in downtown San Diego in the early ‘90s, there were hardly any other kids around. “My brother Matthew and I used to play with our Tonka Trucks in empty parking lots that would fill up with water. This was in downtown back when there weren’t as many high-rises,” she remembers.

Instead, Segal and her brother would go to galleries and architects’ offices with their father, architect Jonathan Segal, and mother Wendy, who paints as well. Initially, Segal wanted to do car design and industrial design, before she realized all the rules she’d have to follow. “I’m horrible with rules,” she says. “So I went into fine art painting instead.”

Brittany Segal's Studio | Photo by Sanna Coates

And judging from the response and attention she’s getting, she made the right choice. Her upcoming show, The Detailed Terrain, in North Park on September 26, is her first solo gallery show in San Diego—but she’s already had shows in Los Angeles and New York.

To Segal, San Diego is home. “I might take leaves of absence, and I travel a lot to begin with, so it’s like, why would I move?”

She's spent time in New York and San Francisco, and her upcoming show is inspired by her stay in Idaho this past summer, but she always returns home. “I’m stuck in San Diego for the rest of my life. I know that, because this is where everything started and it’s so important to me. I will never ever leave this space.”

Having taken a leap of faith in pursuing art full-time, Segal is excited to see her hard work pay off. And she is ready to give back to the community. At the top of her list is helping animals.

“My family has this problem where we take in all animals. All I want is a farm and a thousand animals,” she says, adding: “It makes it really difficult for dating, because sometimes I’ll have four dogs on the bed. I’m like, ‘You can stay on the couch.’”

At her next show, Segal is planning to give the full proceeds from a sold painting to local charity Labrador Rescuers, where she got her own dog, Critter.

She is also an advocate for helping kids get into the arts. “I went to school and I didn’t necessarily have the best support system other than my family and a couple of teachers because I’m dyslexic,” she says. “Now it’s like you have to have a GPA of 4.0 and go to UC something. I want to work with kids that don’t go that path. Try to do something substantial.”

The Detailed Terrain, September 26, 7 p.m.-10 p.m., 3077 North Park Way, San Diego.

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