About the artist.
My work comes out of the visual language used in cartoon and illustration. The familiarity and legibility of cartoon-like imagery broadens accessibility. Absurdity of the human condition and how it relates to the current socio-political climate informs the content of my work. My most recent works delve into investigating my identity as a Vietnamese-American, how the culture is seen through a western lense, and exploring themes of trans-generational trauma.
What is a positive impact that art has made on the local community that you have witnessed? What would you like to see more of?
Less of a barrier to entry. Art is meant for everyone and it’s the thing that can connect and communicate with people from all over regardless of culture and language, why should money interfere with the ability for art to be shared with everyone? There should be monetary value on art, but it should not dictate whether it art is good or not. I know money and fine art are deeply entwined with each other, and this is just wishful thinking, but I am a strong believer in the egalitarian potential of art.
Who or what are your artistic inﬂuences and how have they impacted you or your work?
I have a wide breathe of visual influences. I really look to imagery outside of the “fine” art realm like; tattoos, t-shirt graphics, graffiti, 90’s cartoons (ie: Ed, Edd, n Eddy, Cow n Chicken, Spongebob, ect.) and Comic artist (ie. John Romita Jr. Basil Wolverton, R. Crumb, Craig Thompson, ect.) I also am influences by artist like the Hairy Who and Peter Saul, who help inform a lot of my figurative elements. Peter Saul though, is undoubtedly my favorite artist. His work showed me that cartoons can be in the same dialogue as fine art and that smart art doesn’t have to look a certain way. Despite all that, I take a lot of formal cues from artist like Al Held and Stuart Davis. Lately I’ve been looking at things like food menus, old amusement parks, Nat Geo images, and old family photos.
Do you have any “rituals” that you have to do before, after, or during your art making to keep you creating or put you in the mood to create work?
My ritual is dragging myself out of my apartment, grabbing a drink at some gas station, head to my studio, put on stand-up comedy or a show (like reruns of The Office or Parks & Rec) as background noise, plus having something funny on puts me in a good mood. Then I confront my paintings and work for hours on end. I tend to work on multiple things at once, it keeps me from getting bored with one thing.
How does your material or choice of medium impact your work?
For last couple years I made paintings on the reverse side of plexiglass because I really like the quasi-cartoon quality the flat glass was able to create. My most recent works are on canvas, partially out of necessity, but also because I can work on the surface, which in turns gives more liberties to play with paint application. I mainly use acrylic paint, but in various applications (ie. Airbrush, chunky impasto, flat, ect) The airbrush method mimics spray paint and creates a graffiti-like mark making and gradients are reminiscent of tattoo ‘spit shading’. Chucky impasto allows me to explore texture and the tactile nature of paint.