We recently had the opportunity to interview Fairgrounds St. Pete FLORIDARAMA Artist Elizabeth Barenis. Her diorama Nighttime Everglades Adventure, sets the scene and sounds of a tranquil evening in the swamp.
Elizabeth Barenis was born and raised in Greenville, MS, and has been painting since childhood. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she was named a 2017 Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist grantee as well as a 2018 participant in the International Painting Symposium at the Mark Rothko Art Center in Daugavpils, Latvia. Her work has been shown and collected nationally and internationally. She currently lives and works in St. Pete, FL. Of creating her diorama, Elizabeth reports, “The constraints of working in three-dimensional miniatures challenged me to find new ways to create atmosphere and mood. Art making is a process of solving problems to arrive at a desired result. In that way, I was able to use my usual approach of problem-solving, yet at the same time, the project presented the opportunity to learn new techniques and work with different materials.”
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?
ELIZABETH BARENIS: I hope the public will take away a feeling of tranquility amidst the mystery of night and an appreciation of the beauty of nature.
What about being a part of Fairgrounds St. Pete’s inaugural exhibition is most exciting to you?
EB: Being included among other incredible artistic talent is the most exciting part!
What or what inspired your Fairgrounds St. Pete FLORIDARAMA?
EB: My Floridarama is inspired by the Fairgrounds St. Pete’s weird and wacky narrative and the Everglades at night. As a painter, I translate the language of our beautiful natural world onto the canvas. So, when it came time to create a diorama, of course I chose a peaceful place in nature to recreate as a three-dimensional work.
Who or what is the most significant influence in your art practice?
EB: Beauty is the biggest influence in my practice. If you are asking about artistic influences, I have to name Edward Hopper for his use of light, and Salvador Dali for his use of psychological concepts.
Besides Fairgrounds St. Pete, do you have an upcoming project you’d like to share?EB: I am always working on new paintings while pushing myself in new directions. My most recent painting shows patterns in water falling over rocks in North Carolina.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
EB: You are on the right track. Doors will open if you keep working at it. Stay true to your heart.
What is your favorite FL destination or landmark?
EB: Pass-a-Grille beach.
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