We recently had the opportunity to interview Fairgrounds St. Pete FLORIDARAMA Artist Justin Tyler Tate. His diorama Saltwater & Sycophants, features two of Florida’s biggest draws: theme parks and native wildlife!
Born in Canada, Justin Tyler Tate grew up in the US and now works internationally. He earned his BFA from NSCAD University and an MFA from Helsinki Academy of Fine Arts. His work combines elements of sculpture, installation, media and performance, as well as social art. Over the last decade, Justin has exhibited more than 100 projects, in +20 countries and on four continents. His practice draws knowledge from various fields and marries them in order to find solutions to contemporary problems. Architecture, carpentry, botany, cooking, electronics, chemistry, new-media and more are all merged under a singular umbrella of artistic production. Jordan is occasionally a curator, social designer and a frequent workshop facilitator, focusing on utilization of available materials, tools and site specificity.
Read on to learn more about what the experience of being part of our inaugural exhibit is like for him!
What do you want the public to take away from experiencing the FLORIDARAMA diorama you have created for Fairgrounds St. Pete?
JUSTIN TYLER TATE: I don’t think there’s any singular take-away from any work of art, so I guess I would just like for people to think for themselves and come to their own conclusion.
What about being a part of Fairgrounds St. Pete’s inaugural exhibition is most exciting to you?
JTT: I’ve worked in so many places, but never presented my work “at home”, so getting to do that while also doing something that’s very different from my usual work has been really satisfying.
What inspired your Fairgrounds St. Pete FLORIDARAMA?
JTT: My diorama simultaneously represents some of what I love about Florida, my childhood there and my expectations for the state’s future.
What is the most significant influence in your art practice?
JTT: My childhood was my biggest influence: all I ever wanted to do was to build things, take things apart, play and experiment…so I turned that into my profession.
Besides Fairgrounds St. Pete, do you have an upcoming project you’d like to share?
JTT: I’m always working on a lot of things simultaneously, but right now I’m just about to start a PhD program, hoping to finish a graphic cookbook (comic book/cookbook) this autumn, I’m waiting to install a installation and a bunch of other things.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
JTT: I feel like I have alway been pretty decent, but I do regret the moments when I didn’t treat people as well as I should have. So, I suppose that my advice would be to always treat people well, regardless of the circumstances.
What is your favorite FL destination or landmark?
JTT: I can’t say that there is a specific destination or landmark in Florida that’s my favorite. What I really love are the simple things, like reading library books by the pool every day, going boating on the Gulf or eating fresh seafood with a beer at some run-down waterside restaurant.