What DOESN'T she do? UNF student excels in courses, paints, writes, models and produces.


Courtney Barriger, a UNF c
ommunication senior, began painting at 14 years old. A Jacksonville native, Courtney’s paintings have been displayed in art shows and galleries around Jacksonville and have also featured in an off-Broadway play called “Down the Rabbit Hole” in New York City. Courtney was recently accepted for a gallery opening at Salon Jacksonville Gallery in downtown, opening during ArtWalk July 7. In 2009, she signed with Chicago-based national modeling agency BMG Models. Her first book “Accounts of Correlation” is set to be completed this summer. She is also working on an independent film project with Jacksonville-native and popular author Brenda Jackson. She maintains a 3.5 GPA and is set to graduate this summer.

Q: Why did you choose a communications major as opposed to an art major?

A: I wanted to learn how to market myself. I also wanted to learn how to write. It just seemed if I did only fine arts I would be very limited. Like if I wanted to get a career in anything else it would be hard to.

Q: What was your “ah-ha” moment with your artwork?

A: It was a drawing class in high school. I took a lot of drawing classes in high school. One day, we had a free day and I just took a bunch of paints and a piece of notebook paper. I started painting what I had in my mind and it came out really well. I realized I could form the paint. It was just the shock that I could make something out of nothing. I created this fake world that doesn’t exist and could share with other people. I thought that was really cool.

Q: What is your genre?

A: Mainly because I’m such a storyteller, I say that my pieces always convey a story in some sense. I like to do things from experience, so I often research what I’m painting. I want to embody what I paint. For instance, the painting I drew of a girl jumping in the air is actually my friend on the trampoline. We were in her backyard in Orlando last summer and we were jumping on the trampoline.

Q: Where are your paintings currently on display? What are past places they have been displayed?

A: I usually do an overnight thing or Art Walk. It has been displayed at Healthy Way Café at the Town Center. I actually showed at a theatre in New York City. I illustrated for an off-Broadway play at the Bleaker Street Theatre.

Q: What price range does your artwork sell for?

A: The top has been for $1,200. The lowest is $150.

Q: What was the most memorable moment you have had in your art career?

A: I remember the first really big piece I made was 48 X 36 inches. It’s really big. I brought it to Square One and left it to study for my exams that night. I just laid it down and I left it at Square One. When I came back to pick it up, so many people came up to me and asked “Is this yours? We’ve been waiting all night to find out who painted this.” It’s of a lady standing in the fields. It’s just very soft and beautiful and very colorful. I’ve been told that is my masterpiece, just my “spot-on” piece. I’m a little attached to this piece.

Q: How were you signed to national modeling agency BMG?

A: Last summer, in 2009, I lived in Orlando and I decided to email my pictures to BMG Models. They have a division in Orlando. They contacted me back and said they liked my pictures and were interested. So I went in and I was signed. I was 21. (Courtney is now 22 years old).

Q: What type of modeling jobs do you do?

A: Two years ago, when I lived in Los Angeles my roommate was a photographer. She wanted to use me as a subject to build her portfolio. She got me a job with Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. I did poster work for them. That was the first time it felt real because it was on such a big set. She set me up with the Love Brigade, a local designer with stores in Brooklyn. In 2009, I was one of ten contestants in Jacksonville’s Top Model for Jacksonville Magazine. That was a confirmation that maybe I should model and make money off of this.

I do all of it. I’ve also done trunk shows, runway, wedding shows, fashion shows and hair shows. I do all kinds of modeling.

Q: Do you remember your first modeling gig?

A: I was an actress first. I did a music video for a band called “Start Trouble” when I was 16. That kicked off the idea of being on-screen and being a model. When I was 18, I modeled for a local surfing brand company called “Strike Designs.”

Q: What do you enjoy most about modeling?

A: I like the performance. It’s one of those things where you have to hurry up and wait. You have to check-in, get all your makeup done, and wait to get to know everyone. Its takes hours and hours usually. The actual time you’re taking pictures or walking the runway is very short compared to everything else. But that’s the funest part is the performance. It’s you and you have to step into your own character. To me a model is a character. I can’t see it any other way. It’s not as if I walk around and pose all the time. I have more fun with shoots that are a developed character. It maybe the actress in me.

Q: What was your most memorable moment in your modeling career?

A: At the 5 Points Theatre we did a benefit show for diabetes awareness. While I was walking down the runway, I got applause from the audience. That was the first time I had ever gotten applause. We were the last designer to show and we were backstage for so long. By the time it came for us to get on stage I was so full of personality. I walked on the stage I wasn’t a model at all I was completely personality. I even got a “We love you.”

Q: Are you working on any film projects?

A: I’m associate producer on a film right now. It’s an independent film called “Truly Everlasting.” It’s an adaption to a romance novel by Brenda Jackson. She is one of the top-selling romance novelists. She is also the executive producer on the set and is funding the entire thing. I think that is the first time that has ever been done before. They are going to pitch the movie to Lifetime and The Oprah Winfrey Channel when that comes out. It should get picked up. She has a ton a ton of fans.

Q: Tell me about your book Accounts of Correlation.” When is it scheduled to be completed?

A: I am completing my book “Account of Correlation.” It is my very first book. It is a book of short stories. I have to get it edited. It will contain three big stories and 18 short stories. I have a literary agent that will send it out to different publishing companies. With this book, I wanted to write the way that no one has written before. It was very hard to write, but I think I did well. Even though it will be more expensive to publish, I also want to use my own illustrations in the book. It will go up in value.

Q: Have you done any internships?

A: I lived in Los Angeles in 2008. I had a summer internship with Environment California, an environmental advocacy organization. I was a canvasser with the organization. Basically we were trying to raise money for the Sierra Club. I would talk and hand out flyers to people on the street. It was a lot of fun.

Q: What are your plans for after graduation?

A: I’m going to continue to work on the film. I hope to move to New York City or Los Angeles and work in the film industry and continue to build on modeling.

To look at more of Courtney Barriger’s modeling and fine arts, check out her websites: