Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
How well-known are you in Vietnam?
My paintings are not as popular in Viet Nam but western people seem to enjoy collecting them. This is probably because I paint very abstractly and Vietnamese generally prefer realism in their art. In Vietnam, art is not emphasized in the education system unfortunately, and visiting art galleries here is mostly a pastime for foreigners.
What media do you work in?
Mostly oil on canvas.
When did you start to take a different direction with your work?
I started painting more abstractly in 2000 to set myself apart from other artists. I wanted to break away from the norm, to make my work stand out. I wasn’t sure how well it would be received as I know my abstract work can be confronting. When I first started painting this way, I knew it would take a while for people to take it seriously. Some people say it is depressing.
Some of the images are quite dark and disturbing. Do you set out to shock people?
No, not at all. I think it is more about awakening. The language of art makes people feel and perhaps face things from their pasts, to maybe realize what is missing. It is true that some people may be shocked and may look for a message or some meaning. I don’t paint with a message or cause in mind – that is more the realm of the people viewing the paintings. Their reactions are individual reactions, not collective ones.
You talked about art as a subject in Vietnam’s education system. What are your views on how art is taught here?
I think the teachers are very much holding onto old methodology and ideas. In art classes here, the teachers force students to follow old rules, to paint old concepts of beauty, like rural scenes and street scenes. But art and the world are things that are constantly evolving and changing. We all view the world in a different way, experience beauty in different things. Creativity needs to be encouraged and rewarded, regardless of traditional concepts of beauty.
What advice would you give to young students currently studying art?
My advice would be to embrace and learn all of the technical knowledge and skills that they can from school art classes but be bold enough to break the rules to follow their individual creative paths. It may take longer to succeed but persistence is necessary, particularly in the arts.
You mentioned that your work receives attention from foreign art lovers. Can you talk about that?
Well, I’ve been lucky enough to exhibit outside Vietnam on several occasions. I’ve had individual shows in California and Colorado. In France, too, in a town called Valenciennes in the north. At the moment I have several paintings in a show at the Fresno Discovery Museum in California.
Minh's website: www.typainter.com
Monday, December 08, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Tra Chanh - 31 Dao Duy Tu - Hanoi
Friday, November 21, 2008
I have been intrigued by this boy for a few years but the other morning was the first time I was able to talk to him. He normally doesn't want to talk to outsiders about himself, his predicament or his family. He is a disabled boy who can't walk at all. He sits on a tricycle, using his hands to pedal and control the bike. He started selling newspapers from his bike about 8 years ago when he was 10. He really is one of Hanoi’s child entrepreneurs and even today he barely looks 18 with his baby face and contented smile.
He starts his day at 6am and sometimes ends up at about 10pm, though most days he has sold his papers before then. In the old quarter of Hanoi, that represents a really hard day’s work. The traffic chaos, the dust and pollution, the motorbikes parked every which way and the general hectic activity that he encounters there would seem like a pretty stressful way to make a living. He says he has a loyal group of customers along his regular morning route, mostly those having their morning noodles or coffee. A day’s pedaling – with his hands – brings in the rather meagre sum of 50,000VND. His custom-designed tricycle might require the occasional repair to a puncture or some grease on the chain so his operating expenses are low, thankfully. Even so, the profits of such hard labour wouldn’t leave much for the average 18 year-olds entertainment expenses.
Then, again, this boy is not the average 18 year old. I see lots of boys and girls the same age, who hang around, do nothing, constantly putting their hands out to their parents for money. This young man is the opposite. In fact, part of his earnings probably gets contributed to the family kitty to buy food and pay the bills.
Local identities like him exist throughout this city but few are as inspirational.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Like many Hanoians, I don’t think she realizes she’s doing it.
If you can’t beat ‘em (and you won’t), join ‘em!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
I finally made it to Hoan Kiem Lake and the water has broken its banks and is flooding over the road. This is the first time I've seen this since I came to Hanoi 7 years ago. There are lots of stupid people trying to ride their bikes very fast, which sprayed dirty water all over my clothes. I shouted at them and they laughed, such idiots. According to the weather forecast, it will keep going during the weekend plus the cold wind from the north. I hope we survive!
These photos are from Hoang Ha, Tin Nhanh Vietnam
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The food itself, fried rice and spring rolls, was actually pretty good.
Ps: I can't upload any photos from Lee's restaurant as I lost them all due to virus attack on my hard drive.