Bridget Roderman’s celebrity portraiture
By John D. Adams
A Bridget Roderman painting is more than just masterful portraiture. It is a celebration of the subject, but more than that, Roderman strives to impart her own colorful perspective of the world and the happiness that can be found virtually everywhere. If one looks close enough. The Czech-born artist and former model, Roderman consciously embraces vibrant colors, a focus on the subject’s eyes and facial musculature, and the occasional symbolic imagery. “People’s faces inspire me,” said Roderman. “When I’m painting them I’m really getting to know them… getting to know their thoughts, their insecurities, their fears, their excitements…and even their perversions. You can see those captured moments.”
Journey To Oz
It is no mistake that Roderman’s subjects are often celebrities and colorful public personalities. Indeed, her life resembles the fantastical journey taken by Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” Of course, the reality was a bit more harrowing. “I was born and raised in the beautiful Czech Republic but unfortunately it was not a beautiful time in history,” recalled the artist. “As a young girl, who had to be constantly aware in an environment controlled by fear, I quickly learned to study the faces of people and their expressions. It was my tool for survival.”
From this gray and sepia-toned existence, Roderman, like Dorothy, was propelled into a world of color and magical possibilities. “My family and I escaped from communist Czech Republic. Shortly after, I began a modeling career in Canada and the United States.” Contrasting worlds to say the least. “All of a sudden, I was exposed to the very colorful world of fashion icons and celebrities. It was a fabulous time of my life. Each celebrity has a signature je nes c’est quoi, which I was enamored with.”
Having followed in her artist mother’s footsteps since a very early age, Roderman was compelled to create her own paintings that would express the cheer and light of her own remarkable journey. After former President Bill Clinton saw, and signed, Roderman’s powerful painting of the world leader, she was driven to produce more and varied works. “That is when I was inspired to do a collection, capturing the signature ‘essence’ of celebrities and icons; and then having their literal signature on their portrait and calling the collection, ‘Celebrity Signature Art.’”
The Power Of Personality
Assembled among these pages, Roderman’s celebrity art leaps forth with the artist’s signature use of color. Her style, reminiscent of European impressionist portraiture meeting American Folk Art, conveys more than just a zest for life. “If you look back into my history of conflicting worlds, you can perhaps understand why I am drawn to colorful, happy environments, the bright colors that define me. You will rarely see dark colors. I like to draw people with lots of color because I believe the world is an amazing, colorful place and I like to really express that in all of my work.
“Each of these portraits captures a special moment in time, which can be read through their eyes and facial expressions. Being a celebrity means having influence on the public, so this specific moment most likely influenced the world.”
Family And Flamingos
Today, Roderman continues to expand her range of expression. Another remarkable journey has motivated her to begin painting and exploring the energy in groups of people. Her unlikely source of inspiration? Flamingos.
“My daughters and I went to Israel for 14 days with a tour guide who worked for ‘National Geographic.’ We were in the middle of a desert. 115 degrees. Hot, out of it. Exhausted. Nothing around, no chance of survival. And our guide said that if we just traveled a little farther, around the corner, there was this random oasis known for its flamingos. I didn’t believe him. Flamingos? In the middle of nowhere? In Israel? We walked. And lo and behold there they were. These amazing creatures. After the initial shock of such beauty in the middle of miles of sand, we noticed the unity of the flock. How they moved together, the synchronized dance that they did. It was one of those moments I will never forget. Long crooked noses and necks with legs like kite tails. That was what inspired me. The beauty of this group and how they are so much more powerful when they are together than separately… The explosion of color and life… And if you hadn’t gone around that one corner. It is like life. Sometimes, you have to keep your eyes open out of protection and fear. But, then, if you’re willing to move your eyes beyond that, there is an endless, colorful world out there. Always push yourself just a little more so you won’t ever miss life’s greatest moments.”