AFT speaks to Hanoi-based artist Vu Huyen Thuong, who shares her feelings about people and life through her paintings and installation work. - Interview with Vu Huyen Thuong

“My art works focus on the connection between the past and the present. In that context, human is the centre”

Vu Huyen Thuong

AFT: Tell us about your environment, while growing up.

Vu: I live a very peaceful life in Hanoi. I was born and raised in a happy family, full of love and responsibility. Since young, I’ve been encouraged to pursue my education and practise good self-discipline to achieve success so I can be someone my family especially my parents can be proud of.

2) What influenced you artistically?

Vu: When I entered the art world, my constant inspiration was around the theme of people, us humans. I observed my peaceful world and interacted with gentle people, pleasant, kind people, I learned how to love, to share, sympathise and understand humanity. How humans show compassion for one another, how they sympathise and show mercy to those who may be less fortunate, how they refrain from cruelty. It is through human eyes that I’m inspired to create more works that depict human kindness, aspiring for a better life!

AFT: Which art piece did you submit to the International Surrealism NOW exhibition and why?

Vu: The first piece of art I sent to the International Surrealism Now Exhibition in 2010 was the “Eye” (oil on canvas). In this work, I used the eyes to evoke the humanity in it. Eyes like people gathered in a certain miniature world, flying, free-falling, many eyes are lonely, many others are protected by human hands. Some eyes are protected until they fall down; and the eyes removed (or leave) from protection of hands. In my view, our life is the same. The work is only conceptual about a certain aspect of life with a primitive view of human fate. - the eye by Vu Huyen Thuong
the eye – Vu Huyen Thuong
(oil on canvas)

Surreal works that promote ideas, contemplations, strange things, near and far from the real world, make you soar in creativity whether reasonable or unreasonable, real or unreal, ideas.

Surreal style is always very unique, interesting, strange and new. - the eye detail by Vu Huyen Thuong
The eye and detail – Vu Huyen Thuong
(oil on canvas/ 120x85cm)

AFT: Did you paint during the Covid-19 pandemic? What did you do to pass time?

Vu: I made two paintings. One named “Open the door” and another one in progress entitled “When the love dies …”

I observed many countries undergoing a very difficult period especially when high number of deaths were recorded. In my country, we were always on high alert but many of us complied with the state regulations and stayed indoors, not going out on the streets, avoiding crowded places to protect ourselves and the community. - Open the door by Vu Huyen Thuong
Open the door – Vu Huyen Thuong
Oil on canvas/ 80x110cm - When the love dies.. by Vu Huyen Thuong
When the love dies… Vu Huyen Thuong
Oil on canvas/ 80x110cm

AFT: What is the one thing you strive to do with your art? Do you think you’ve been successful?

Vu: The only thing I do with my art is to be creative and remain constantly creative. I have had certain success on the path of art from the beginning until now, winning awards while still in school. I participated in many events accompanied by famous international artists, participated in many significant exhibition activities in the country and internationally. For
me, success takes time and is a form of ‘gathering moments’, even experienced people must try until they want to stop. To achieve success, there is no way but to try to assert myself in my career and I always set goals to accomplish and to succeed.

AFT: Is there any work that you have not finished or can’t complete? What happens then?

Vu: I have many plans and goals to accomplish, this takes time to implement it. I have things to be done and I do not allow myself to leave any work unfinished, so all the things that I do have to be done by a timeline. My character is such that I must finish what I have set out to do.

AFT: Is health and fitness important to you as an artist? Care to share about your daily routine?

Vu: For me, health is very important, almost the first indispensable factor in life in general and career in particular, and similarly, I believe it is an important factor for an artist. If you have good health and you maintain it by living a healthy lifestyle, it will help you to complete the work you want in good spirit, good intellect. All of that would then contribute to promoting and inspiring even more creative ideas.

Habit? I exercise when I can, I jog every day (morning and afternoon), “eat clean”, minimise fat, increase resistance. Diets makes an important contribution to staying healthy. I work a lot on the computer and sometimes it’s an overload of work where I sit for many hours to complete the work.
During those times, I tend to gain weight. I like a slim and healthy body, so I know I must arrange my time so that it’s balanced and I stay healthy.

AFT: Finally, what’s your ultimate favourite thing to do?

Creating art is the most important thing for me. This career is a great passion for me, so creating art is not just a hobby but my life.

Team AFT thanks Santiago Ribeiro & Vu Huyen Thuong for participating in this interview.

Visit the artist’s official blog:

Learn more about the International SURREALISM NOW exhibition:

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By Jasmine Low

Jasmine Low is intrigued by sound frequencies, loves long walks, hikes and is co-creator of the Move8 fitness movement. She is writing her first book #listenbyheart, a concept presented at a TedX event and wears the hat of co-founder of Experiential Media & Technology group, and this media network, AsiaFitnessToday.

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