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 Community Artist - Eva Berman

Community <br>Profiles

I first learned of Eva Bermanís work when talking to her husband Rich. Both Rich and Eva are Gulf Harbors Woodlands residents and often support community events. I learned from Rich that Eva was an artist during a Children of the Woodlandsí event and I met Eva at a later event. After seeing some of her work via photographs emailed to me and talking with this kind couple, I knew that I should share their work with the rest of the community. The below interview was conducted via email and is the first of a series of community profiles to be released on a regular basis.

GHW: Eva, can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you grew up, how you and your husband Richard, met, and where you lived prior to moving here?

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Eva: I was born in East Germany and spent my early childhood years in the West German State of Bavaria. When I was eleven, my family moved to a small town near Stuttgart. As a child, I studied the Violin for more than four years; I also took Ballet lessons for two years. But my most favorite way of expressing myself was through drawing. My Grandmother told me many times that even in nursery school and kindergarten the teachers would always praise my drawings. Later, in high school art class, the teacher often had me walk around the class room showing my drawings to other students. Despite my desire to draw and paint, for practical reasons, I had to become an office clerk, which I loathed!

I married a GI at the age of twenty and came to New Jersey. There I had three children and worked for an Insurance Company. The situation at home was not good and this would lead to a divorce, and it was at this time when a co-worker convinced me to take oil painting classes at Nevadís Studio in Dunellen, N.J. Painting immediately became a passion of mine.

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During this time I also attended the Armat School for Graphic Arts in Plainfield, N.J. and then pursued a career in the graphic arts. While working at a local printing company, I met my present husband Richard, who worked for the City of Plainfield. In a few years we were married and when he retired, we moved here to the Woodlands. Richard has been very supportive of my artistic endeavors and continues to be.

GHW: What was life like growing up there? Did it influence your work or your approach to your art?

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Eva: My Grandparents, who raised me, took me along on all of their trips through Bavaria, Austria, Switzerland and Northern Italy. During these travels I got to see many beautiful buildings from palaces to cathedrals, many of which housed incredible artworks like paintings, frescos, sculptures and mosaics. All of these sights had a very strong impact on me! Also another influence in my early life were the stories about WW II which my Grandparents and their friends would recount. I remember getting very scared sometimes learning of their experiences during those hard times. My Grandmother was a dressmaker and tailor. While with her, I remember picking up scraps of fabric and making simple clothes for my small dolls. But my first love was always drawing. My husband and I are very fortunate to be able to make an occasional trip to Europe. Each trip inspires me to continue to paint and capture a sense of what I saw as a child and what I have seen more recently as an adult.

GHW: Have you had any formal education in the arts or are you a natural artist perhaps both?

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Eva: In addition to basic painting classes at Nevadís Studio, I attended life drawing classes at the Art Studentís League in New York City. This experience had a lasting impact on me and left me even more passionate about classical art and the human form. Whenever I had the chance I would draw my children, friends, relatives, our pets or anyone that would hold still long enough for me to get a likeness.

The more I painted, the more I realized that there was much more to learn about art. Since shortly after arriving in Florida, I have finally had the opportunity to formalize my interest in the arts. I have taken classes in figure drawing, painting, and clay sculpture at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center and have had the privilege to paint with Melissa Miller Niece, Brooke Allison and Christopher Still, all of whom are very well known in their fields. I realized that I wanted to learn more and a few years ago I signed up for art classes at the Clearwater Campus of St. Petersburg College. There I studied drawing, design, oil painting and art history. The last three years have been very busy for me as I studied for my Associate in Arts degree, attended an occasional painting workshop and continued painting every day on my own. I will graduate from St. Petersburg College in May of 2004 and will pursue my artistic ambitions more seriously than ever.

GHW: What artist(s) influences your work?

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Eva: I think I was always influenced by ancient art, classical Greek and Roman sculptures and frescoes. Later, it was paintings of the High Renaissance that have had the most impact on me. At various time I have painted in more modern forms ... cubism and impressionism. I am awed every time we visit Italy and other countries where one is literally surrounded by art and architecture.

GHW: Can you tell us the one of your favorite stories or experiences as an artist or community member?

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Eva: A most exciting time for me was when, as a child, I had a brand new box of colored pencils and a fresh, clean piece of paper and time to contemplate what to draw!

GHW: Do you sell your work and are you available for commissions to paint custom murals?

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Eva: Yes; while living in New Jersey I sold paintings at local art shows. I also have had several shows and won some awards. My paintings have been selected for display in juried shows and have been purchased for use in commercial establishments like offices and restaurants, as well as by private individuals.

GHW: Are there other forms of art that you practice?

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Eva: Yes, I also do clay sculpture. I have worked on abstract items as well as the human figure. I have also studied clay sculpture with Leslie Ann Chanove and Kyu Yamamoto. GHW: Can our readers contact you?

Eva: Yes, I am available by phone at 727-849-1793 or by e-mail at evab@gate.net. Thank you for taking the time to interview me and giving me this opportunity to show my work.

Editorís note: Gulf Harbors Life is looking for Community Profile stories. Interest stories dealing with historical events, like WWII, Korea, Berlin Wall, Cold War, and local history. Do you have some great photos on any of these events? Do you have a great story on found love or one that inspires? Stories about interesting work, hobbies, or activities? If so, contact us at Editor@GulfHarborsLife.com and give us a summary of your story. We want to hear from you and show the world how interesting and amazing our community members are!


Posted On Tuesday, March 16, 2004


 
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