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Le Quan is currently living and working in Hanoi. For nearly eighteen years of oil painting, he paints what his heart can feel, not what eyes can see. Most of them are in impressionist style, with a blend of cubism, expressionism and semi-abstract contemporary, the themes of landscapes, architecture and urban areas are simplified to a certain extent, leaving most of it for memory. For him, painting is when he digs up the chaotic and fragmented memories of his poor, rugged and destitute childhood to bring the viewers to another joyful world, a neverland, a memory of the Season far away, the quarters of the Street flashing back, floating without boundaries, all reminding us to love those beautiful days. From 2000 to 2018, Le Quan participated in many domestic and international exhibitions. There were group exhibitions in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Japan. The domestic exhibitions include: Asia Pacific Exhibition - Nokia, UNESCO Exhibition, Beppu Asia Biennale Contemporary Art Exhibition, Student Annual Exhibition, etc. He was a member of the Artist Club from 2001 to 2004. In 2010, he had a solo exhibition at Thang Long Gallery, Hanoi. He also participated in a fundraising program to build a school organized by Vietnam Art Space in 2018. Along with his time as an artist, Le Quan has cooperated with Thang Long Gallery at 41 Hang Gai from 2012 on. His works are in private national and international collections, mostly sold to private collectors from Germany, France, China, Hong Kong, Spain, Austria, America, UK, Sweden, Belgium and Norway. Le Quan was born in 1977 in a suburban district of Hanoi, he graduated from Hanoi Central University of Art in 2002 and Hanoi University of Architecture in 2011. He is currently living and creating arts in the capital city of Vietnam and working at an interior design company.
2018: Exhibition of Heritage Area / Hoan Kiem Exhibition Center / Hanoi / Vietnam
2017: Group Exhibition of Rainbow / Trang Tien Exhibition Center / Hanoi / Vietnam
2012: Group Exhibition / Toriizaka Art / Tokyo / Japan
2010: Solo Exhibition / Thang Long Gallery / Hanoi / Vietnam
2007: Group Exhibition / Red Gallery / Dubai
2006: Group Exhibition / Singapore & Hongkong
2005: Group Exhibition of Capital Young Artists / Hanoi / Vietnam
2005: Beppu Asia Biennale Contemporary Art Exhibition / Ha Noi / Vietnam
2003: UNESCO Exhibition / Trang Tien / Hanoi / Vietnam
2001: NOKIA - Asia Pacific Exhibition / Hanoi / Vietnam
2002 / Bachelor of Arts / Fine Arts / Hanoi Central University of Arts / Vietnam
2011 / Bachelor of Arts / Interior Design / Hanoi University of Architecture / Vietnam
What is your personal journey from your childhood until now?
I was born into a poor family, next to Day River in Ung Hoa, Ha Tay district, a suburban area of Hanoi. In 1987, my family and I left the village for the new economic zone of Cuu Long tea farm in Hoa Binh province. My father died early in 1990 when I was just 13 years old, my mother had to raise my brothers and sisters on her own. Being the youngest child and the only one who has studied all the way to college, after school, I had to do manual jobs to earn money for school. I graduated from high school in 1998. In 1999, I went to the Central College of Arts Pedagogy. From here on I started to pursue art. I graduated from two universities in Hanoi in 2002 and 2011 by working for twelve years while studying at the same time. I started to pursue art professionally in 2012 until now. I love my mother, the miserable woman who raised me. Perhaps that is why in my painting, I always have the image of my mother, her back on me, a sad silence every morning I watch her go to work.
Since August 1999 I have been living in this city. I love it all, the living space, the dynamic pace of life, its prosperity in the making, the beauty of architecture, transportation, culture, cuisine, and the community. The old windows are colorful, flashing at night, the rhythm of the street is charming and friendly. The people are very hospitable, friendly and kind. There are the old streets of the ancient city lying there quiet for thousands of years, mossy and full of traces of time. Somewhere there are still many hidden French architectural features on the streets of Hanoi.
Why did you choose to become an artist and what does it take to become one?
Passion. I love nature, the scenery, and the beautiful sunny skies. I love the transition between seasons of the year, the beautiful shades of the tropics, especially the autumn in Hanoi, this season is very sunny, the color is golden, shiny, the streets are full of dead leaves, moldy and dried up, white roads, I have loved to draw and learn to draw by myself since the age of nine. I never see myself as an artist, I simply love drawing and like to draw. I can only say: Art is a multicolored vibration through the artist's heart.
What are the main challenges Vietnamese artists are facing?
Most Vietnamese artists have difficulties and struggles in making a living. Tensions between one's employment status and living conditions of oneself and one's family. They may love the job very much, but it is very difficult to make a living with their works because the paintings cannot be sold, or can be sold at relatively low price, only enough to cover their expenses, so they have to do a lot of different jobs apart from painting..
Vietnam is a country where the art market is very chaotic, nothing and everything. There is not a single organization, individual or group that has enough heart and ability to support and sponsor artists making them feel secure and enable them to dedicate their lives to what they’re doing! Every emerging organization has a short-term and self-interested, narrow-minded vision from the very beginning, so the artists are very confused and do not have a firm orientation both practically and mentally.
Being a painter in Vietnam, one cannot 100% focus on drawing, but must do another job to live well. All the guiding principles must be considered, if you want to participate in national exhibitions, you must have a political theme (sticking to the rules). On the other hand, if you want to make good sales, you must paint for the market (easy to understand and in realism), if you want to sell internationally, you must draw in a contemporary style (this number is small but they live best in the world of paintbrush holders).
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?
As I mentioned above. How you strategise will determine how you do it and how you paint. Vietnam is the cradle of the first Indochinese art school. The development of art genres, styles, trends and the number of good Vietnamese artists is quite high. The only problem is the environment. Personally, I am a bit liberal in terms of career point of view. If the paintings are only for domestic exhibitions, it is necessary to change the viewpoint to best suit the theme of the exhibition. Of course the Fine Arts Department will have censorship, but in my case, I have asked permission to do group exhibitions twice, I didn't find it too difficult, if the topics are clear enough and free from politically sensitive matters.
If you want to improve your brand awareness and sell your works, you need to reach out to foreign markets. Personally, the semi-abstract contemporary style that I am pursuing is not suitable for most domestic tastes. However, for the international market, it is very potential and well-received. That's why when I cooperate with Singulart Gallery, the result is very outstanding, “immediately and always”. This does not mean that I ignore the domestic market. Vietnamese people tend to favour foreign products, once you have established your own style and sell well in the international market, you will be able to come back to the Vietnamese market, your own paintings will be well-received at once. I have also successfully transactions with the VCCA (Vincom Center for Contemporary Art) of Vingroup, they are willing to buy Vietnamese artists’ works at a relatively high price, of course there are strict legal constraints on personal rights and copyright. In saying so, to know that Vietnamese people have also started to spend more money on art is actually a very good news.
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 derive from it?
From the perspective of an artist, I am very glad to have known another platform that promises good opportunities for Vietnamese artists. Technically, the clear and transparent principles of the organizational structure of Silapix, a very new universal and selective channel targeting the high-end and contemporary segment gives young artists who have settled on a particular style a good opportunity to be introduced to the public who love art as quickly and effectively as possible. Hopefully in the future, this sales channel will develop well in Vietnam and help promote the Vietnamese artists to the international art-admiring community. Creating better income opportunities for the Vietnamese Artists community.
Who are the top 5 artists (domestic or international, deceased or alive) having the most influence on your work?
Architect Le Corbusier (French-Swiss), Vincent Van Gogh (Netherlands), Ludwig van Beethoven (Germany), Bui Xuan Phai (Vietnam) and musician Phu Quang (Vietnam)
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