What first drew you to art?
When I was younger, I just knew I wanted to create something meaningful. I had an idea to develop a website to connect people through their special events (life changing and significant moments) and I created cartoon characters to help promote the site. I think that was when I seriously got into art. To my surprise, I was offered money for my works. It wasn’t much, just $10-20 dollars for a piece, but I felt really uplifted.
I know you’re working in Vietnam now - what are you doing there? What’s the art scene like where you live?
I was born in Vietnam and I moved to the U.S. when I was 17. I lived there for 8 years before moving back to Vietnam. I’m currently working as an editor for a local company while trying to pursue my CFA charter (Chartered Financial Analyst). I love taking risks and exploring new opportunities as Vietnam’s economy improves. I think an artist is an entrepreneur at heart - pursuing art requires hard work, persistence, creativity and courage.
I now live and work in HCMC, which is also known as Saigon (Paris of the Orient). My first impression was its noise pollution and crazy traffic. However, after getting to know the city, I soon discovered its rebellious and artistic personality. The city loves coffee and its coffee shops are intriguing. Some are artistically and authentically designed, hidden in unknown streets or tucked away buildings.
Has Vietnamese culture influenced your work?
My Vietnamese identity definitely influences my art. However, my works doesn’t look like typical art they have here. That said, I do have some nice works portraying Vietnamese people and our traditional dress, which I really like.
You certainly do have a very unique style. How do you describe it? Where do you come up with your imagery?
I guess maybe I have my own way of looking at things. I relate what I see on the computer screen and what I see everyday to my experience, I connect different people, animals, objects at different times and places together to create works. I think my motivation is to transfer my inner world to my artworks. I seldom think of what to paint, I just take the brush and do it. I’m under no pressure when I work and I enjoy the freedom to express myself with colors without the fear of being judged.
Being one of our most prolific artists, how do you make time to create?
As a person who often sinks into my own thoughts, I’ve found painting is a way to recharge myself. I paint almost everyday. I have thousands of works and that fact gives an impression that I spend my time painting and doing nothing else [laughs]. That’s not true.
I’ve discovered that this my ability to create is my strength. I’m certainly not the best artist in Vietnam or in America but I think I can reach 50,000 works for the next ten years.
Finally, what’s on the horizon for you in 2011?
I plan to do two exhibitions in HCMC and Hanoi (Vietnam). One is on August and the other is a month before Christmas. If you are in Vietnam around that time, you are invited!
Joan Miro in Barcelona circa 1935
Yesterday marked the 117th anniversary of Spanish artist Joan Miró’s birth. (Want to learn how to pronounce his name? Click here). His paintings and sculpture are famous for their bold, pure colors, amoeba-like forms and intricate lines. Instead of meticulously planning compositions, Miró let his hand move randomly across the canvas, creating automatic drawings that tapped into his subconscious.
When asked how he came up with content, Miró once said:
“How did I think up my drawings and my ideas for painting? Well I’d come home to my Paris studio in Rue Blomet at night, I’d go to bed, and sometimes I hadn’t any supper. I saw things, and I jotted them down in a notebook. I saw shapes on the ceiling…”
In the final stages of his life, Miró began experimenting in different media. He created a tapestry for the World Trade Center in New York City in 1974 and the work was displayed there for many years. It was one of the most expensive works of art lost during the attacks on 9/11.
Here’s a sampling of Miró’s work, and similar pieces by UGALLERY artists:
Joan Miró Person Throwing a Stone at a Bird (1926)
Joan Miró Constellation: The Morning Star (1940)
Joan Miró Hermitage (1924)