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Thuy Thu is a female artist who was born in 1977 within a family very much involved in art field (she learnt Fine Arts techniques with her family), she grew up in Hanoi. As a pluridisciplinary artist, Thuy Thu uses different techniques such as acrylic paintings, printmaking and ceramic to create her artworks. Her work consists of expressionist portraits (mostly women), landscapes and still life which explore the internal emotional spectrum of their subjects. Women's emotional states are an endless source of inspiration and exploration for Thuy Thu. Her ceramic works are inspired by plants, flowers, materials from nature and the breath of contemporary art with its modern colors, shapes, distortions, variations in many states. Thuy Thu has exhibited internationally and is the recipient of multiple awards: Beijing Art Council distinction, International Commonweal Poster Design Exhibition of Anti New Coronavirus, China; Bronze Medal (2005-2009), Nationwide Exhibition in Applied Arts, Ministry of Culture in Vietnam; First prizes in logo design, nationwide contest (1998, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2009, and 2010). Some of her paintings belong to private and corporate collections all around the world. Thuy Thu is also the founder of Art Silk, a fashion design brand which exclusively uses the technique of silk printing (Thuy Thu uses her own and her family’s artworks which are printed on silk). In parallel, for the last 20 year, she has been teaching children and students how to express their ideas and develop their creativity. Thuy Thu graduated from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities with a Bachelor and a Master degree. Later on, she got a Doctor of Philosophy in Cultural Management at Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Art Studies. Thuy Thu lives and works in Hung Yen, Northern Vietnam.
2020: Exhibition of Women Painting - Painting Women / Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Hanoi / Vietnam.
2020: An exhibition of visualizing artists working in the Vietnam / Vietnam Fine Arts Association / Hanoi / Vietnam.
2020: The 25th exhibition of Graphic, Sculpture and Fine Arts in Hanoi / Vietnam Fine Arts Association / Hanoi / Vietnam.
2020: Emotional of June / Vietnam Fine Arts Association / Hanoi / Vietnam.
2020: The Color of our Nation / Vietnam Fine Arts Association / Hanoi / Vietnam.
2020: The Warm of the City, 2020 International Commonweal poster Design Invitational Exhibition of Anti New Coronavirus / China.
2020: The Color of Time exhibition / Vietnam Women Artists Club / Hanoi / Vietnam.
2020: The Spring of 2020 Exhibition / Vietnam Fine Arts Association / Hanoi / Vietnam.
2019: The 9th National Congress of Vietnam Fine Arts Association / Vietnam Fine Arts Association / Hanoi / Vietnam.
2019: The VIETARTNOW selected faces exhibition / Chon Auction House / Hanoi / Vietnam.
2019: The 19th International Art Exchange exhibition / The National Art Center / Tokyo / Japan.
2019: The IX International Exhibition of Visual Arts Euroamericana 2019 / Cusco / Peru.
2019: The 24th exhibition of Graphic, Sculpture and Fine Arts in Hanoi / Vietnam Fine Arts Association / Hanoi / Vietnam.
2019: The International Belt and Road-Beautiful / Hexian International Art Exchange Workshop / Hexian / China.
2018: The Logo Exhibition / Vietnam Fine Arts Association / Hanoi / Vietnam.
2017: Doctor of Philosophy / Cultural Management / Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Art Studies / Vietnam.
2006: Master in Tourism / University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University / Hanoi / Vietnam.
1999: Bachelor in Tourism / University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University / Hanoi / Vietnam.
Van Giang, Hung Yen province , Vietnam
Acrylic painting, printmaking and ceramic.
What is your personal journey from your childhood until now?
I learned to draw from a young age with my grandfather and father. The first time I made money from painting was when I was 5 years old. My “Rooster” painting won a drawing contest for children and was selected for the collection by the Fine Arts Museum. Growing up, I switched to Literature, wrestling with letters. In my free time, I still follow my father to do exhibitions and draw billboard advertisements. The memory of those good old days is the joyful feeling of being the only girl holding the tools on the several floors of the Giang Vo Exhibition, or the feeling of the wind blowing in my face when I was painting large billboards of several dozen square meters on the 5th floor of a high-rise building. In those days, we still had to use paint, not highflex canvas or Led screen as now. I studied Tourism at university simply because I like to go out and travel around. Curious with English tutorials, I started learning graphic design on computer with Corel Draw, Photoshop or magazine design software with QuarkXPress since 1995. And then, I started working part-time for one graphic design center, participating in designing Young Fashion Magazine, Heritage ...The year 1998 was a defining moment. I won the Vietnam Student Association Logo Design Contest when I was in my 3rd year at University of Social Sciences and Humanities. It is not the first award-winning work but the Logo I created was chosen for official use by national students is an unforgettable feeling. 1999 was the year I graduated from university. I was supposed to be in school as a teacher, but life wasn't like a dream when I had an unexpected bit of trouble. Based on the literary knowledge and writing skill accumulated during my high school years, I applied for the position of copywriter of Goldsun Advertising Company but thanks to the creative advertising script right after the interview, I was selected as Assistant Creative Director. Six months working at Goldsun, I learned a lot thanks to a British director with extensive experience in the advertising industry in the UK as well as Hong Kong. If I continued to stick to advertising, perhaps my life would have turned in another direction.
In 2000, I returned to the University of Social Sciences and Humanities as a lecturer, teaching subjects related to marketing, communication, branding, event design ... for the past 20 years I have been a "boat rower". Graphic design, logo creation, poster creation became a second job that helped me win a number of design awards such as logo of the National Emulation Congress, Vietnam Red Cross, Vietnam People's Army Newspaper... In 2006, I officially became a member of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association and has been working in the graphic arts association ever since. I won the Bronze Medal of the National Applied Fine Art Exhibition 2005-2009 and recently the Asian is not coronavirus placards was rated as the excellent work in the International Placard Exhibition by Beijing Art Council with the theme of Anti-Corona new variant in Zhejiang (2020, China) as well as many awards for logo design, placards. The opportunity that brought me closer to painting was 2019 when I got to participate in an overseas workshop as an art assistant. For long, I have been a painter , but this is the first time I was able to work and learn from more than 50 foreign artists, accumulate a lot of knowledge as well as learn many skills and creative styles of the talented artists. Right after this trip, I was able to join two monoprint camps organized by the Vietnam Fine Arts Association for its members. Approaching a completely new form of composition not only for me but also for many artists who are familiar with other materials, I found it to be my favorite composition because of limitless creativity and the element of the surprise of monoprint. After the monoprint camps, I continue to explore myself with the change in the traditional use of acrylic materials and more recently with the surprise in ceramic glaze. I also used my design skills and became the owner of the Artsilk brand, using several prints in designs of ao dai, towels and many other fashion products.
My subject is nature and women. I am a person who likes to move, loves to travel alone. Going and experiencing cultural places in foreign lands gives me new things and enhances my creativity. The emotional states of the woman, the happy, sad, angry, seductive, luxurious, trendy, mysterious, ... states of women are the themes of my strength. In my opinion, a woman, no matter how strong she tries to show off, can be as wet as a small cat with her man, and vice versa, no matter how soft she is, she can be tough and furious.
I am opting for monoprint as one of the main compositions. The monoprint, though only recently approached by Vietnamese artists in recent years, is a genre that has been exploited and developed very strongly in the world. Therefore, watching and studying foreign artists is how I cultivate my inspiration. The creative margin in the monoprint is really an advantage with the ability to change color, layout, materials, printing techniques to create different works in a short time. But the pressure of time is a challenge, especially when the work has to be pushed to a higher level, bringing about an art declaration. This requires the artist to think for a long time before embarking on the performance of his work, but at the same time, one has to change very quickly what they think to keep up with the emotion and vibe at the time of composing. With Acrylic, although this is a fairly conventional material, I also find a new way when combined with some chemicals to create a different surface, but still keeps the vibe. My main composition is expressionist portraits of mostly women. I want to depict the emotional states of women. Women are a masterpiece of nature and my endless inspiration when expressing emotions through colors, shapes…
Recently, pottery is also a new path for me. This is a ceramic line inspired by plants, flowers, natural materials and contemporary breath with modern colors, shapes, unconventional, distorting, variations in many states. I am particularly interested in the creation of new ceramic glaze as well as the restoration of some old ceramic glaze.
Why did you choose to become an artist and what does it take to become one?
I think I am a CREATIVE. I always explore, change and create in everything I do, not just as an artist. I think everyone has their own creative abilities, but not everyone has the opportunity to push their creativity to transcend and express it with colors, shapes ... That’s what makes an artist.
What are the main challenges Vietnamese artists are facing?
I don't think we have a transparent art market yet. Because we ourselves, as well as the next generation, do not have any training or study about art from a young age. As a result, copying still exists, sometimes the buyer pays more money to make a frame than they are willing to pay for a unique painting, a creative work of the artist. That makes many artists struggle to make a living instead of freely composing. Another thing is that not all artists are aware of having to create their own style, so there is still plagiarism, fake paintings .... Foreign language is also a big challenge that Vietnamese artists are facing when interacting with international friends.
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?
In the short term, I am participating in a number of domestic and international art galleries such as Silapix, Saatchiart ... I also participate in group exhibitions, ceramic clubs, monoprint ... by the Vietnam Fine Arts Association, Center for Contemporary Art. One advantage is that I can use English well and have participated in many art workshops so I always keep in touch, exchange and send my works to international exhibitions informed by foreign friends. Unfortunately, because of the epidemic situation, in 2020 I can only submit my works to 2 international exhibitions. I am also concentrating on composing for my solo exhibition later this year.
In the March exhibition with 3 artists organized by Silapix in Ho Chi Minh City, I will bring a series of paintings with multi-faceted style, a combination of multicolored polygonal blocks with contrasting background colors. Starting as a graphic designer, I’m bringing the strengths of graphic design to combine with painting, erasing those boundaries to create my own style. The material used is acrylic but it feels like lacquer, which is my difference.
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?
In my opinion, the idea of connecting artists, architects, interior design consultants and art lovers is the difference that Silapix Art Rotation by Art Consulting Asia has to offer. Thanks to professional advice, art lovers can access the works of art more easily. Artworks also have the opportunity to be displayed in public areas that are appropriate to the public with high aesthetic level.
Who are the top 5 artists (domestic or international, deceased or alive) having the most influence on your work?
One of the greatest artists is Pablo Picasso. He is not only an artist but also a sculptor, potter, poet, screenwriter and designer. He is also a ceaseless creator who created a huge treasure trove of works and heritage for mankind. I admire his creativity. The second person is Frida Kahlo. She is one of the most talented female artists who became a global brand, a feminist icon. She painted quite a lot of portraits, especially self-portraits, drawing women, which is also my main theme. The third person is Dan Tirels, who is a contemporary British painter and has many creative ideas in monoprint.
In my country, I was first influenced by my father, painter Nguyen Thuy Lien, then painter Hoang Nghia Hiep, the teacher who guided me and many other painters in two monoprint camps organized by the Vietnam Fine Arts Association. He is the one who led me to approach the monoprint genre as well as guided me to realize my ability with the art of pottery.
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