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Art & Life with Kenny Nguyen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kenny Nguyen.

Kenny, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I actually started with fashion design career. I went to Vietnam National University of Art and Architecture, where I’ve been trained to be a fashion designer. I got a job at a designer house when I was a junior in university. At that time, the textile industry was really booming in Southeast Asia. After working for a couple of years, I realized I couldn’t belong to that world. For many reasons but most parts have to deal with the industrial production of it. And then suddenly, my family decided to move to the US. I’ve made a decision that completely changed my life and my career. I quit my job and moved here with my parents. It was really exciting at first, as much as I like to adventure and explore, that feeling has gone quickly, and I soon faced the real struggles. I felt shocked and isolated with the new cultural environment. The only thing that could calm me down, when I sit in front of the easel and paint. I love that feeling when you become the controller of your own world. If the blank canvas is my new life, I want it to be colorful. So I went back to school at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, then begin my career in fine art as a painter.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I don’t limit myself in one specific type of art. I do painting, sculpture, also installation art. Most them influenced by my Vietnamese cultural heritage and traditional art, sometimes it’s the combination between the two cultures. I think also having a background in fashion design, which has shaped my studio practice in creating art, especially in my use of materials such as textile and fabric. In my imagination, each piece of my artwork has their own personality, and they are not repeating each other. Usually, when I curate my works for an exhibition, I like to put them in a specific context where they can connect and interact with each other. I wanted when the viewers see my work in person, it can create a conversation. Maybe, It makes people curious about the techniques, or they feel it relates to the story. It’s always interesting to hear what people think about my work when it’s published. And I think what made my artwork so alive is people not always take away from it, they actually added on different meanings to it. I think that’s the beauty of abstract art.

How do you think about success, as an artist, and what do quality do you feel is most helpful?
I think in any career, you’re not the only one to do this job. For me, success is when you’re best at where you’re at. There is no best artist or best artwork, we love diversity, and each artist has their own audiences. I don’t set an ambiguous goal for my career, from the beginning I just wanted my work to be original. I want my work is a different version of me, stand out as a unique individual and doesn’t blend in with anybody else. As an artist, success is when I created an artwork that satisfied my artistic freedom, the same time pleased the viewer’s eyes and mind. I think the most compliment to an artist that when someone sees your work, they recognize it’s yours but nobody else. And it’s hard to do. I’m still working on it.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I’ve exhibited my artwork national and international. Recently, I had a solo show at Czong Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, South Korea. I also represented by Sozo Gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina where I’m living and maintaining an art studio. We are also planning for an upcoming solo show in January 2019, and it’s open to the public. Big thanks to the internet and social media, I think the easiest way to support my work is to check it out on my website at kennynguyen.org or follow my Instagram page at Kennynguyenclt and share to your friends. If you want to own my original works, please feel free to contact the gallery or me. The best way is to show up in person at my show if you live nearby.

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Image Credit:
Kenny Nguyen

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