Victoria Accardi | ode boutique | women's clothing & fashion in northampton ma

ode boutique

Artist Interview

Victoria Accardi

February 1, 2018

Remember the vibrant rainbow in Ode's window at last year's Auction for Action? Victoria painted that. Or the multi-colored triangle lemon cookies on display? Victoria made those. Oh, and that blooming hand-painted garden hanging on our wall last fall? That, too, was Victoria. Whether she's painting, cooking, dancing bachata, dressing a window, or donning her signature striped pants, Victoria Accardi brings a distinct joie de vivre and play to her creativity. But there is also undeniable intensity and intentionality to all she does. On life as a professional painter, she says, "I don't always love it. It's hard work. But I have to do it. I can't not paint." And the world gets to thank her for that. Currently, Victoria's work is represented by The Gallery at Somes Sound. She will be teaching Ode's first art workshop, Flowers in February, an ink watercolor exploration, this Thursday, from 6-8pm. Please call or stop by to sign up, as there are limited spaces.

What inspires you to make art?
I am inspired by contrast and contradiction; things that are not initially perceived as or considered beautiful. I want to point out the serenity in a chaotic urban landscape, the romance of a neon-lit laundromat, the isolation of a crowded street. I am interested in eliciting common and relatable emotions in unlikely and overlooked settings. 

What do you do/wear/listen to when you paint?
I favor very old, broken-in denim, soft t-shirts, and a blue and white pinstripe Brooks Brothers button-down that I stole from my Dad as a teenager.


Bushwick" 26x36" Oil on canvas 2016 (Victoria Accardi)

What’s the best mistake you’ve made artistically?
I am a big proponent of the “learn by doing” method; my approach to learning any new medium (or anything at all) is very hands-on. The ignorance of any “rules” allows me to make mistakes that teach me so much about that particular medium. A perfect example is this technique of ink watercolors. I stumbled upon this because I did not bother to read the ink label and learn that ink is not water soluble, and the reactive properties turned out to yield really beautiful results when mixed with water. Just to be clear, this is not a technique I pioneered – I just came upon it by accident.

Describe the perfect day in your New York.
There is a very specific scent that the breeze carries in New York City in the late Spring. Growing up I referred to it as “the almost-Summer smell". I think it may be indescribable and possibly undetectable to anyone who didn’t grow up in the city. But there is nothing better than being in New York city as the pear and gingko trees are blooming and getting hit with a warm breeze filled with the smell of almost-Summer. It is only present for a few days usually in May. On these days I like to walk across one of the bridges and people-watch, ideally ending up in Brooklyn drinking rosé with some friends.

What makes you dance?
Almost anything:
-When a car driving by is bumping the song of the summer.
-When I am in Trader Joe’s with my best friend and Jessie’s Girl starts playing.
-When I need to embarrass my brothers.
-When something good happens and there isn’t even any music playing.
-Literally anytime there is Salsa or Bachata music playing.

What’s your favorite food?
CHEESE.

If your style was an animal, what would it be, and what kind of sound would it make?
If my style were an animal it would be a bird of paradise, and it would laugh.

Favorite color of paint? Least favorite color?
My favorite color to paint is and has always been red. Usually a bright red with shades of Alizarine and Quinacridone glazed over it. My least favorite color to paint with is yellow, the pigments are weak and frustrating to modulate. 

Last time you belly-laughed:
Last night, facetiming my best friend who can always make me laugh until I cry. 

What 3 women have inspired you this past year?
My mom, who got her undergraduate degree from Smith this year at age 46 and is already onto her masters. She is a nerd-Goddess. 

My 16-year-old cousin Magdala, who is attending catholic school in rural Pennsylvania among very close-minded peers. She does not let anyone dissuade her from standing up for what she believes in and advocating for human rights with eloquence, bravery, and grace. She is a social justice warrior. 

The owner of Ode Boutique Kristin, whose leadership style is one of encouragement and mutual respect. She has shown me what can be achieved when women support women. Working with the incredible group of women here at Ode is unbelievably inspiring.