Rody: La Belle Époque always in fashion

“Art, fashion, architecture, and design have always been connected. I was always fascinated by the Belle Époque style, Art Déco movement, and the Roaring Twenties atmosphere.”


French artist Rody is known for her playful portraits of early Parisian life. Inspired by the white and sepia-toned postcards from her childhood, her paintings recall a simpler time when men and women roamed the city streets looking for love and adventure. Born in Romania, Rody grew up surrounded by art.  Her father was a famous artist who was living in Paris and the south of France. In the early 1920s, he had the chance of meeting Picasso and join his group of friends, sharing their creative and “bohemian” lifestyle. They remained in touch until the end of their lives and that, actually, had a major influence on Rody’s orientation.

Bordering on Impressionism, the artist uses soft, light brushstrokes to capture the light and emotion of the scene instead of meticulously bringing every detail to life as it exists in the real world. This September, with New York Fashion Week in full swing, we asked Rody to talk to us about her inspiration, role models, and creative process. After all, her romantic works and her elegant style are an inspiration for all of us.

What is your first memory surrounding art? Was there a moment when you made the decision that you wanted to be a full-time artist?

My first memories surrounding art were within my family; my father was an artist, so I grew up observing him at his easel, playing with his tools like a child would, leafing through the art books, hearing and listening to his conversations with friends, colleagues, customers and so on. Drawing and painting came naturally to me, there was no precise moment when I decided to become an artist. I had that desire and as I was gifted, everybody encouraged me. In my mind, this was some kind of proof that I was going to pursue an artistic career.

You’ve mentioned that when you finally moved to Paris, it felt like finally being home and finding your soul’s roots; What inspired this move? How did that change affect your work/creative process?

I grew up in a dictatorial government and realized at a very early age that I had to look for freedom elsewhere. I wanted to escape, just like most people in my generation. Romanians were traditionally francophones and francophiles, and we all dreamed of Paris, the City of lights, culture, elegance, and freedom of mind. That change was major for me, it opened my eyes and soul to the things I always dreamt about. It helped me understand who I was and, therefore, make my own decisions. Being in a Museum with all these masterpieces in front of my eyes definitely didn’t feel the same as merely looking at an art catalog!

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You have won a significant number of awards along your career. What do such accomplishments mean to you?

Surely, it’s very enjoyable to receive awards; they act as confirmation of my progress and efforts, while they also encourage me to follow my path.

Through your art, you don’t wish to share socio-political messages. Considering the vast changes in the world happening nowadays, do you think this could change?

I have always tried to share my dreams and emotions, not social or political messages. But with all these major changes happening in our world, I feel more and more concerned with issues like the environment protection and might express it more in my future works.

Would you say that your creative practice has changed over time? If so, how?

Surely, through time and experience, my creative practice has evolved; my technique, perception, and points of interest are different now than forty years ago! But I believe I have maintained a recognizable line in my art.

What is the greatest advice you have received throughout your artistic career and would you advise the same to young aspiring artists?

I have received a lot of advice and they all taught me things. But the greatest one was to never be afraid of making a mistake; mistakes don’t exist in art! For instance, Picasso said that he tried to paint like a little child all his life. And truly, children don’t follow rules, they are free and dare to paint whatever comes to their mind, following their impulsions and intuitions without being afraid of making mistakes. I would advise that to all young aspiring artists.

The always elegant Rody

One can observe a great sense of fashion in your artworks, for instance, in “My Treasures, 2012” or “Parisian, 2014”. Have you ever been inspired by a particular designer or art movement of a specific era?

Art, fashion, architecture, and design have always been connected. I was always fascinated by the Belle Époque style, Art Déco movement, and the Roaring Twenties atmosphere. They were great and revolutionary moments of progress in all fields: science, technology, fashion, esthetics, mentalities. Women started to claim their freedom and social position by cutting their hair, their skirts, showing their legs, driving cars, traveling, and so on. Great designers such as Paul Poiret, Jeanne Lanvin, Jean Patou and, later, Coco Chanel made all this happen. Yes, those eras have greatly inspired me.

Collecting art is a highly involving and emotional experience. The artist’s process and intention are some of the factors that make one fall in love with his or her piece. Learn more about our artists’ creative methods and fascinating techniques in the Center Stage and Artist Techniques categories.

Has your art inspired a designer that you know of?

I don’t think that my art has inspired a designer that I know of, but I would be very proud if this happened!

Rody’s works will be on view at Agora Gallery from September 17 through October 8, 2019. You can view more of her works on ARTmine.

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