Fashion Flash: Lynnwood’s Cody A. French comfortable being his artistic self

Cody A. French
“I believe that what you wear defines you,” says Lynnwood artist Cody A. French. (Photos by Emily Hill)

This Fashion Flash segment focuses in on Lynnwood resident and artist Cody A. French. Cody and I met up at the Lynnwood Convention Center (3711 196th St. SW) where we took time out from our photo shoot to chat with Marketing Manager Lindsey Thompson.

I first encountered Cody in downtown Edmonds when I dropped my grandson Noah off for a Mike O’Day sketch-to-sculpture class for children. O’Day’s classes are held at ARTspot (408 Main St., Edmonds), where Cody works when he is not at his easel.

Cody’s sense of color and drama caught my eye immediately, as did his artwork, which is displayed by Tracy Felix, proprietor of ARTspot. The day I met Cody he was wearing his signature black sports coat, slacks and polished wing tips. But what is strikingly fashion conscience about Cody (besides that one gets the impression he doesn’t ever dress in sloppy sweats or the grunge look) is his affinity for incorporating shades of magenta and red into what he wears. Definitely red is his color!

Fashion Flash (FF) invites you into this transcript as I walked the hallways of the convention center getting to know Cody A. French (CAF) chatting about what his draw to Lynnwood’s energy is all about:

FF: Cody, I met you in Edmonds, of course, but you live in Lynnwood.

What (a) contrasts and what (b) similarities in “people lifestyle” and “people energy” do you find when comparing and contrasting the two communities?

CAF: Edmonds is relaxed and slow paced, as Lynnwood is a get-up-and-go-onto-the-next-attraction area. Both areas create the energy which they were built for.

Edmonds contains the energy similar to a slow-paced East Coast harbor town. Whether one is strolling past beautiful homes with magnificent gardens or walking along the beach and waterfront, a simple walk in Edmonds can seem like a wonderful and timeless journey.

Edmonds’ population is generally more mature and residents seem to take the time to cruise and explore, not worried about taking the whole day just to enjoy the atmosphere.

Lynnwood is all about the shopping and eating! The mall, movie theaters and multitude of easily-accessed restaurants have that effect. There is just so much to choose, do and explore, so naturally the people in Lynnwood are restless and always ready for the next opportunity. They are fast paced and enjoying every minute of it, however sometimes not as talkative as a newcomer may hope. I know I have seen a few individuals multiple times in multiple places just in one day.

French shows off his style outside the Lynnwood Convention Center.
French shows off his style outside the Lynnwood Convention Center.

FF: You dress more sharply than almost any young person your age – the color! (And, not black with blue-red, but a dashing, splash of JUST the right shade of red!) Where does your sense of GQ come from?

CAF: Well I personally think I am nowhere near Gentlemen Quarterly Fashion, but I try to stay fashionable.

I have gathered my fashion inspirations from a wide range of media; from fashion designers like Eduardo Castro, to novels like Mary Stewart’s Crystal Cave series.

I believe what you wear defines you, so make it amazing, comfortable, and always a visual embodiment of your personality.

Naturally I want to appear sharp and elegant, but I also want to be comfortable and show my artistic self. Simplicity looks clean and is simple to view so I never wear patterns and I prefer to wear very soft textural pieces of clothing. I like to add a little edge and creativity, and a little rebel youth, to my attire by accessorizing with like worn Converse, scraped stylish boots, punk-influenced necklaces and chains, as well as graphic-designed accessories.

I prefer to wear something I can move freely and comfortably in, but still appear professional and stylish so I combine leisure with formal. The best example of this is my favorite outfit, a dark red-magenta T shirt with a black sports coat, black slacks, double prong belt, and either black bluchers, dress boots, or converse sneakers. The color red defines my personality, so I make sure to place a hint of it in every outfit, in fact this may be the first thing anyone notices about me. I only use either pure reds or dark maroons and dark magentas to compliment the pure black.

FF: What attitudes drive your lifestyle and “who” you are? Are you from an East Coast family? Maybe you grew up on Manhattan?

CAF: I was born in Seattle and grew up in Montana. I am a Seattleite by heart, and was not too accepted by the Montana culture. My goal for about the last 12 years has been to move back to the Seattle area and to find a place I belong. The driving personality many people have come to love about me was born through a long-trialing determination that is incapable of understanding failure. All in all, I am just a person fighting really hard to make my dreams come true, and to find a place to belong . . .

My lifestyle is very eclectic. I was raised with a lot of freedom and urged to strive for what I wanted and who I wanted to be. My older brother and I were raised by my single mother without much help from our extended family. Most of my lifestyle is driven by my amazing mother, whom has Southern and West Coast influences. She taught me to always live motivated, energetically, courageously, but to take the time to enjoy myself and the things that make my heart melt.

We all learned how to have faith in each other and how to do everything and survive by ourselves.

– – –

FF: What brought you to Lynnwood? Parents? School? Maybe Edmonds Community College?

CAF: For me, Lynnwood is the best step toward city life before moving to the actual big city of Seattle. Lynnwood, right now, is practically everything I want to experience, I am never bored here and I am practically 20 minutes away from every suburb and the heart of the city…in good traffic. It’s also excellent to be an artist in Lynnwood, After horribly long studio hours I can go to the Alderwood Mall and get a good walk, lunch and meet some people before returning to make artwork again.

FF: Recommend the following for folks who don’t know Lynnwood:

a. Great restaurant

b. Great place to grab an espresso and bakery item

c. Best Lynnwood greenbelt for walking and reflecting

CAF: An excellent restaurant in Lynnwood? That is hard. There are so many!

I personally love Indian food, so Cafe India (19817 44th Ave. W.) is amazing; it has excellent food, great prices. But I would also recommend a nice sit and eat at Pho 36 Restaurant on 36th Ave.

A fun place to grab a coffee, small baked goods, or even an organic sandwich would be the Espresso Buono Garden Café  (5106 196th St. S.W.) right next to Wight’s Home and Garden Shop. The atmosphere of this cafe is amazing, there is nothing like enjoying a coffee while sitting next to a pond and being surrounded by plants. A major plus is Espresso Buono Garden Cafe has a chalk board for those creative types, like myself, to draw or write something inspiring for other cafe guests.

A fun park to clear the mind and enjoy the sun, if it is out, is the Pioneer Park (18400 36th Ave. W.) on 36th Avenue. It looks at first small and residential but you can walk to the farthest edge and follow a stairway down into a small forest like area. It’s almost like a completely different world once you take a few steps down this staircase. The walk around the park is very nice and quiet, so piece of mind can easily come on the exploratory walk in this park.

Pioneer Park is also a pet-friendly park, so it is very welcoming to your tiny friends that help us reflect and deal with the trials of life. And in true Lynnwood spirit, if you get bored of reflection you are a short walk away from the Alderwood Mall, two move theaters, and a ton of restaurants.

Cody A. French, “My Other Places to Enjoy a Time-Out”

Some places I personally love to enjoy while I am out and about are Subspace Comics (3333 184th St. S.W.) and Another Castle at 333 184th St. S.W. across from the Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood.

Subspace comics has an awesomely friendly staff and an above and beyond stock of comics for the comic nerd in all of us – from Marvel to DC comics to everything in between. When you get your reading done at Subspace Comics, you can walk a few feet into Another Castle Gaming and reminisce on old video games or even try some gaming machines.

French's work “RME”: Interpretation of fantastic tales combining Renaissance art stylized with contemporary fashion and ideals style.
French’s work “RME”: Interpretation of fantastic tales combining Renaissance art stylized with contemporary fashion and ideals style.

FF: Where on the Internet can our readers find you?

CAF: If you would like to see my art work and keep up with my schedule I would recommend my website, Facebook and most importantly on Instagram https://instagram.com/codyalexfrench

My website address is: www.codyafrenchart.com

And, of course, there’s Facebook www.facebook.com/ArtOfCodyFrench

“Famine” Caption: Self- reflective self portrait, allows personal clarification of decisions and interpretations through symbolism.
“Famine” Caption: Self- reflective self portrait, allows personal clarification of decisions and interpretations through symbolism.

[FF: At which galleries can we view your art?

CAF: I will be around the Seattle area showing work, doing live presentations, and talking art – all in fashionable attire! (The Columnist smiles.)

On June 4, I’ll be showing at the Hanson Scott Gallery. I’ll return to the Art Walk Edmonds line-up on July 17, where my work will be exhibited at Coldwell Banker Bain Realty (105 5th Ave. S.) in Edmonds.

My show information can be found on my website.

FF: What else would you like us to know about you?

CAF: My personal statement is: Be who you are and never stop learning, give chances but never give in, take as many opportunities and you can give, and never forget the gift of love given to you.

“Reaching”: Using hands to convey the motions of anxiety, highlighted by the Baroque technique of Tenebrism.]
“Reaching”: Using hands to convey the motions of anxiety, highlighted by the Baroque technique of Tenebrism.]

– – –

FF: Cody, Lynnwood Today would like to thank you for joining us for this interview. Your direction and dedication to your art passion is, I’m sure, an inspiration to young people in the Lynnwood-Edmonds area.

We will continue to follow your amazing career and wish you well along the way.

— By Emily Hill

Emily Hill is the author of two novels and a short story collection. She also writes the “Artfully Edmonds” column for My Edmonds News. Emily is retired from a career in public information and news media relations. If you would like your event listed, or featured, in Lynnwood Lifestyle, Emily invites you to contact her at emily@lynnwoodtoday.wpengine.com.

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