We recently had the opportunity to interview Fairgrounds St. Pete FLORIDARAMA Artist Amanda LaForest aka “The Peach Moon”. Her diorama, Resting, depicts a scene that you’re sure to have spotted at any Florida beach.
Amanda LaForest is a tattoo artist and illustrator based in Gulfport, FL. Born and raised in St. Pete, her work focuses on both the nostalgia of Florida tourism and the frustration that many younger Florida natives feel with their home state. Of Floridarama, Amanda reports, “I love immersive installations and I am very fond of miniatures, so the medium of a diorama sparked a lot of creativity for me.”
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?
Amanda La Forest: My goal with my FLORIDARAMA is to convey the sense of peace and escapism that Florida gives to transplants, snowbirds, retirees and tourists.
What about being a part of Fairgrounds St. Pete’s inaugural exhibition is most exciting to you?
AL: I love the idea behind Fairgrounds St. Pete. As a local artist, it brings me so much joy to see a group of people dedicated to highlighting the talent we have in this area.
What or what inspired your Fairgrounds St. Pete FLORIDARAMA?
AL: My experience of growing up in Florida was often filtered through the lens of my grandmother, Harriet, who was the quintessential Florida retiree. She was a transplant from Indiana to St. Petersburg, and ended up settling in Treasure Island. She appreciated this area more than most, and made sure my childhood was filled with plenty of sunshine and pool days. Making this piece helped me grieve her passing in 2020.
Who or what is the most significant influence in your art practice?
AL: My grandmother Harriet is a huge influence on my work, as well as the tourist culture that is so strong here. Visually, I love to work with various throwback styles and elements of nostalgia and escapism.
Besides Fairgrounds St. Pete, do you have an upcoming project you’d like to share?
AL: As of now I am primarily focused on my tattoo career and exploring styles that aren’t represented in this medium very often. I just completed a tattoo giveaway and fundraiser on my Instagram page, with proceeds going to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, that I’m excited about, though!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
AL: Lowbrow art is more fun, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing a trade instead of a degree.
What is your favorite FL destination or landmark?
AL: I am theme park Floridian through and through, but I also love our gulf beaches – specifically Treasure Island, Indian Rocks and Pass-a-Grille.