The White Punjabi Bride
Meet French Artist Elodie Mondelice
Updated: Apr 23, 2020
I am excited to share with you all the work of the very talented French Artiste Elodie Mondelice. As many of you might know by now, I have a love for artwork that captures the beauty of Indian Women. As a fellow artist at heart I discovered Elodie's artwork when I was trawling the internet for inspiration for my own artwork.
What caught my eye with her work is the beautiful embellishments adorned on the lifelike portraits of Indian beauties. Her artwork truly captures the essence of Indian beauty. Therefore I reached out to Elodie to feature her Desii Girls artwork and she was more than happy to oblige. I only hope that you all enjoy her work as much as I do.
If You Could Tell Us A Little About Yourself And Your Work, In Particular Your Collection 'My Desii Girls'.
Hi everyone! My name is Elodie, I am 36 years old, I live in Paris where I was born and where I grew up until I was 13 years old. After that, I went to live in Guadeloupe, a small island in the French West Indies where my parents come from. When I was 18, I returned to Paris to study interior architecture at a school of architecture.
Since then I share my life between Paris where I live and work and Guadeloupe where I also do exhibitions. I have been drawing since I was young girl. It has been my way of escaping, expressing myself, and also a way of appropriating the things I love.
However, I started to paint on canvas in 2010 after studying architecture, while I was looking for a job. During this time, I started by painting the colonial architecture in Guadeloupe and after a while, as I had a nice collection of paintings I was advised to exhibit. I did my first exhibition in 2011 and that was that; I found my job.
After several exhibitions on architecture in 2012, I wanted to try my hand at portraiture to see what I was capable of. Naturally my second theme of choice were the portraits of Indian women inspired by Bollywood. "My Desi Girls" were born. The Name of this collection is from the name of a song, from the movie "Dostana" with the beautiful Priyanka Chopra. It means "My Indian Girls".
Other than that here are a few fun facts about me: I am passionate about architecture and interior decoration, I try to be light hearted and enjoy having a laugh, I love both Paris and France, Batman is my favorite superhero, I love history and mythology, I love my parents, I love my husband, I love the morning, I like taking the train, I like cooking and eating, I love cats and I'm a huge fan of Hercule Poirot, I do not like to fly, I'm afraid of spiders and I do not like talking in public.
You Have An Astounding 52 Indian Beauties In Your Collection Of My Desii Girls. What Inspired You To Paint These Beautiful Women Adorned In The Colours Of India?
I believe that Indian art has resonated with me since I was a young girl. My father had taken me to an exhibition on India in the department store "Le Printemps" in Paris where a whole floor was devoted to this country. I must have been about 10 years old at the time.
All I remember is being absolutely amazed by all the exposed crafts, fabrics, vibrant colors, intricate patterns and materials. I wanted everything that I saw as it was all very beautiful. Then it continued when the family on my Mothers side (as a result from the Indian immigration in Guadeloupe after the slavery of the African people) participated and invested in the recognition of the Indian culture in Guadeloupe through various cultural events.
I remember that objects were passing through Paris from India and bound for Guadeloupe for exhibitions down there. I loved to look at the objects and search the boxes. But alas it was not for me.
Then one day in my early twenties I watched a Bollywood movie for the very first time and that was that, I was hooked on India. All the objects, intricate patterns, vibrant colors, and beautiful fabrics took life with the characters, in the sets, with the music and the dances. It still is a wonder to me this very day.
What particularly interests me when working on a portrait of an Indian woman, is to try and capture the emotions and expressions of the faces of these heroines, to the beauty enhanced by the ostentation of the jewels and the outfits. This contrast between the purity of their emotions, the humility in their feelings and the riches of their finery and the colors of their clothes, that's what I want to show in my paintings.
What Does A Typical Day Look Like For You As A Full Time Artist?
I do not know if there is such a thing as a typical day in this business. I take each day as it comes and no two days are ever alike. I can very well spend a day painting or looking for exhibition venues and send e-mails to solicit.
Or I might go somewhere with my paintings and improvise a photo shoot or create a mock interior layout in the studio so that I may create visually appealing photos of my paintings on display. So that I may use these photos for my web site or social networks.
Monday morning in general is when I try to organize my week ahead. And if not, my favorite days are those I devote only to painting. I get up early to go to the gym, it's important because my studio is a part of our apartment, so I do not move much in the day.
In the subway I look at my emails and Instagram. I go home, I shower, I have breakfast and I turn on the tv in the workshop. I like the atmosphere of old series like Murder She Wrote or Hercule Poirot while I work. (my entourage makes fun of me). I do not know why, but the atmosphere these shows create is pleasant and conducive to concentration.
I take my brushes and I continue the painting that I've already started. Now and again I will share a photo on Instagram. It's something I do not do enough of. I am very shy and don't like to even share my work in the studio. That's why I do not post any photos of myself on Instagram. I really have to make an effort on that.
I will usually take a break around 4pm and then leave again until 6pm. Then go to the kitchen to prepare dinner. Depending on the weather, particularly in Summer when the days are much longer, I will then go back into the workshop for the rest of the evening. Those days always go too fast!
Your Paintings Are So Detailed, What Process is Involved & How Long Does It Take To Finish One Artwork?
It always starts with an Indian movie!
I select the images that interest me. When the expression of the face of the heroine is intense, when I think it could make a beautiful painting, I will then draw it onto a canvas. I use acrylic paint only and the canvas is cotton.
I will reinvent her clothes, change or add patterns, change her hairstyle sometimes, add jewelry when she has little and create a new background. I always start by painting her face, which will inspire me for the colors of her garment and the background.
I draw some patterns with a kind of thin-tipped paint tube, which allows me to create patterns in relief. I then place rhinestones and glitter on jewelry or clothing, and sometimes on the bottom. The stones are glued one by one, by hand, with varnish not glue.
Finally, the painting is fully varnished, 3 to 4 layers are needed when I want the painting to be vibrant. Once the painting is finished, I find a feminine name of Indian origin whose meaning resonates with the emotion depicted by the portrait or according to the dominant color of the painting.
It can take up to 2 to 3 weeks for just one artwork, depending on the size and detail involved. The smallest size is 1ft x1ft, the largest is 4ft x 3ft.
With Such A Love For Indian Beauty, Have You Ever Been Or Would Like To Visit India?
I have never been to India, mostly because I do not like to fly, though I have watched a lot of Bollywood movies!
For the moment such a trip is not planned, but yes India remains a very beguiling place for me. I think it would take several trips or an extended stay to really soak up its essence.
I have a lot of aunts and cousins who have traveled to India and would like to go back one day. I have a cousin who is there at the moment for a few months.
Do You Have Any Upcoming Exhibitions Featuring Your Desii Girls Collection?
There are no upcoming exhibitions for "My Desi Girls" collection in 2019 for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, at the last exhibition in January 2019, all paintings were sold. It's just amazing, I still can not believe it! So I have to rebuild a stock to be able to exhibit.
Secondly, I must work primarily on architecture paintings for exhibitions scheduled for the end of the year and current 2020 in Paris and Guadeloupe. However between two architectural paintings, I find the pleasure of painting a new Desi Girl, it's too hard to resist.
The new paintings will always be presented first on Instagram and Facebook, then on the website as well as future exhibitions.
What's The Process If Anyone Would Like To Commission You For An Individual Piece Or Purchase Any Of Your Current Pieces of Work?
To acquire a painting, you can go through my website. Just click on the painting that interests you, then click on my e-mail address that will appear and leave me a message about your favorite.
Then I will give you my bank details and payment is made by bank transfer or PayPal. The painting is sent to you by post upon receipt of full payment.
For custom orders simply contact me via the contact form on my website. Include the dimensions you want for your future painting, specify if you would like it with or without rhinestones or just a little and include a photo of what you are after if you have one. Then I will send you a quote and if you accept, a 10% deposit is required up front.
Connect With Elodie
*Images are courtesy of Elodie and are original copyrighted content and cannot be used without the express written consent of Elodie