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Huy Dung Mai │ Emerging Vietnamese Artist (Art Painting)
Born in 1974, Huy Dung is a Hanoi-based painter plus graphic designer, whose main technique is acrylic on fabric. Although expressionism seems to dominate his works, Dung doesn’t confine his composition in any particular kind of style. He loves portraying human beings and human-related genre, through which he wishes to explore his own capacities and satisfy his feelings. He’d like to inspire his onlookers to ignite reflection upon themselves, life, freedom as well as the constraints that we are all facing. Dung participated in various exhibitions in Vietnam, Korea and Taiwan. His three solo exhibitions are all held in Hanoi: Living (nude painting), Frontier area (portrait painting) and MJ (Michael Jackson portrait). He also regularly donates paintings for the Flooding Combat Charity program. Like many Vietnamese artists, Dung only interacts with his art lovers and sells his works to them. Dung studied Graphic Design for 5 years in Hanoi Open University and graduated in 1999, but many more years were spent studying from life and the internet. He is currently living and working in Hanoi.
2020: Narrow Life / Exhibition Center 29 Hang Bai / Hanoi / Vietnam
2017: Focus On Asia / Limlip Museum / Korea
2017: Flow / Kaohsiung / Taiwan
2017: Moving / 16 Ngo Quyen / Hanoi / Vietnam
2016: Solo MJ / V-Art Club / Hanoi / Vietnam
2016: Crossroads / Fine Arts Museum / Hanoi / Vietnam
2016: The colors of Stone / Kaohsiung / Taiwan
2015: We Open / Fine Arts Museum / Hanoi / Vietnam
2012: Solo Frontier Areas / Nguyen Art Gallery / Hanoi / Vietnam
2010: Solo Living / Vietnamese Art Center / Hanoi / Vietnam
2008: Song of Hope / Maison des Arts / Hanoi / Vietnam
1999: Bachelor of Arts / Graphic Design / Hanoi Open University / Hanoi / Vietnam
Huy Dung Mai's interview (03/2021)
What is your personal journey from your childhood until now?
Before entering Hanoi Open University, I never learned to draw. I happened to prepare for the exam and passed the exam here because at that time, Open University only needed a gifted test to be able to enter. I studied here just because I like Graphics, not painting. During my career as a graphic designer, I was exposed to the internet and saw works by artists from all over the world. Thereby, I realized that painting is so freeing and diverse, being a very good means to convey the artist's thoughts, not as rough and stereotyped as what I often saw in domestic schools and classes. With the encouragement of painter Nguyen Cuong, a respected teacher, I decided to switch to painting after about 10 years of working in graphic design. I started drawing since 2006. My graphic foundation was pretty solid so I didn’t have any technical difficulties. Regarding my family, although my maternal grandfather, painter Tran Du, was one of the 22 painters of the War resistance course, since he died before I was born, I did not receive any direct help. My relatives weren’t artists. In return, my relatives did not interfere with my decision to become an artist. The biggest difficulty was how to define the personal identity in my work. I was fairly satisfied with my first solo exhibition in 2010 with the theme of the nude. In the exhibition, I was not able to sell any works. It was okay, giving the audience have time to get to know me, a new face at the time. I am true to my feelings and still draw quite regularly. Of course, about a year later I started selling until now. In general, my path to art was quite flat compared to many other artists. The problem I need to deal with is not whether to sell or not but how to satisfy my own feelings when composing. Of course, there is also a period of years when I couldn’t sell any paintings due to my time doing research in a new direction that the market has not accepted, but it is okay, I can overcome it.
Why did you choose to become an artist and what does it take to become one?
Why I became an artist, I already mentioned above. An artist who wants to stick to and succeed in their career, in my opinion, needs the courage to not waver when facing economic difficulties, always be loyal to their own emotions, dare to speak their own voice, be ready to challenge the barriers of censorship as well as old-fashioned beliefs of the majority.
What are the main challenges Vietnamese artists are facing?
Vietnamese artists are largely facing the nascent market problem, preferring decorative works over bold ideas. Plus censorship is heavily conservative, it is easy to lead to the phenomenon of pleasing the majority but losing individual originality.
There are very few art exhibitions in Vietnam and art is under regulation. What is your strategy to exhibit your work, enhance your awareness and sell your artworks?
I always draw what I want without ever censoring myself. I can exhibit or not, no matter what, I can't let the audience who has loved my style down. The Internet is a powerful medium that makes it easy for anyone to access compositions without the barriers of censorship.
You recently decided to join Silapix.com and the Silapix Art Rotation Program developed by Art Consulting Asia. What is the added-value of these new concepts and what benefits do you think Vietnamese artists will withdraw from them?
This platform, in my opinion, will help Vietnamese artists to have more confidence when composing with personal identity. Its advantage is to connect highly aesthetic customers and potential artists.
Who are the top 5 artists (domestic or international, deceased or alive) having the most influence on your work?
Vincent van Gogh, Kuang Biao, Marina Abramović, Marcel Duchamp, Willem de Kooning
Huy Dung Mai's paintings for sale online
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