We recently had the opportunity to interview Fairgrounds St. Pete FLORIDARAMA Artist Adela Salas. Her diorama, Aqua Forest, is like a vibrant undersea calypso!
Adela Salas is a visual artist, muralist and designer born in Santiago de Chile. She graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a BA in Fine Art and began her artistic path focusing on murals and painting as her main media. Her inspiration includes colors, social issues, transformation and healing. Currently, her work centers on exploring feminine mystical energy. She is fascinated by storytelling and learning from women’s stories. Portraits, nude bodies, mystical creatures, vivid colors, lines, nature, jungles, panthers and dots (too many dots!) are repetitive elements in her work. As a latinx woman in a country where she is part of a minority, Adela maintains that women’s empowerment is critical to achieve gender equality. In many of her paintings and murals, she highlights social issues, such as gender-based violence, racism and body related biases based on preconceived beauty standards. Adela is grateful for the opportunity to be inspired and create every day. She is currently based in Florida, but develops projects in Chile and Mexico.
Read on to learn more about what the experience of being part of our inaugural exhibit is like for her!
What do you want the public to take away from experiencing the FLORIDARAMA diorama you have created for Fairgrounds St. Pete?
ADELA SALAS: My piece shows an aquatic forest scene created with playful merpeople tails! Merpeoples are ethereal. Like glittering apparitions, they shine through the mists of time. My piece is playful, bright and mysterious. Florida is also bright and has some amazing myths. I want viewers to experience, play and question Floridian merpeople and at the same time I hope the public will feel like they can enter this mysterious unknown aquatic forest world where their imagination can run wild.
What about being a part of Fairgrounds St. Pete’s inaugural exhibition is most exciting to you?
AS: I’m honored to be part of such an amazing group of artists. It is one of Tampa Bay’s first immersive experience destinations where you will see all the amazing and weird parts of Florida in one place. I’m just excited my art is part of it!
Who or what inspired your Fairgrounds St. Pete FLORIDARAMA?
AS: The brightness of the sunshine state, the hypnotizing colors of Florida Springs and the history of merpeople in Florida inspired my FLORIDARAMA.
Who or what is the most significant influence in your art practice?
AS: I’m constantly influenced by my family and friends. I enjoy learning about life stories. I studied sculpture, but I started painting 5 years ago. Most of my art is influenced by magic realism and the feminine mystical energy.
Besides Fairgrounds St. Pete, do you have an upcoming project you’d like to share?
AS: Yes! I have two group shows coming up. The first one is June 5th at Five Deuces Gallery, where I will have all of my new paintings, and the second one is June 11th at Venus Gallery. Both are located in St. Pete.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
AS: Don’t be afraid to try different mediums! Don’t be afraid to make art that others will question or judge. Fear is one of your worst enemies. Be focused and do the work. Open your heart to truly experience life and the artistic process.
What is your favorite FL destination or landmark?
AS: Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring in Williston, FL