Written By: Tom Lange
If anyone is capable of connecting the musical genres represented by Ariana Grande and Elvis Presley, it’s Bri Ebenroth. She just accomplishes it in a different corner of the artistic world.
A former two-time state soccer champion from St. Dominic High School and a 2013 St. Louis Sports Commission Sportsmanship Scholarship awardee, Bri makes her living as a graphic designer. She further feeds her artistic avocation by creating digital portraits and paintings.
“I am shamelessly into pop culture, so many of my portraits are of celebrities and musicians,” Bri said. “I started doing these as a creative outlet because the design work in my first job was fun but fairly structured.”
While most of her digital illustrations focus on trending artists like Ariana Grande, Bri also spends creative energy on Elvis portraits because he’s a personal favorite of hers. It’s a unique combination of interests that bridges the musical and generational divides.
There was a time when sports, rather than art, consumed the majority of Bri’s time and energy.
“My mom will bring up stories of the times my sister and I were caravanning our way from game to game or practice to practice, changing uniforms in the car,” Bri said. “We played multiple sports, especially in the early years.”
“That almost seems like that happened in another life,” she said. “I am pretty far removed from sports today.”
The sportsmanship ethos still permeates Bri’s essence, though.
“I learned a lot about self-discipline from sports and sportsmanship,” she said. “For me, it was about creating a balance between getting caught up in the competition and keeping to my morals and belief system. I didn’t know the Sportsmanship Award was such a big deal at the time. I didn’t know the weight of it, but have a much better appreciation for it now.”
Ironically, Bri’s first job came with a direct connection to the annual Musial Awards. One of her mentors, and previous boss, is a former Musial Award winner. Buck Smith was recognized in 2016. Bri worked under Buck as a graphic designer at Fleishman-Hillard.
Bri and her fiancé, Brian, are engaged to be married in December. A University of Missouri graduate, Bri is living again in Columbia. Brian is attending medical school at Mizzou while Bri works at Hoot Design Company.
“With the pandemic and being forced to stay inside, I’m just immersing myself in my work,” she said. “It’s definitely an adjustment.”
It seems pretty easy to imagine Bri’s initial proclamation once the pandemic ends: Elvis has left the building.