I paint/draw/sculpt portraits of my family and friends on a regular basis and give them away to show my appreciation for their care. Painting is also a way to reflect upon my relationship and history with the subject.
As someone who has been uprooted and traveled so often, the amazing and accepting people I meet are what helps me feel like I belong.
Bà nội (2015) Oil on Panel. 8×10 in. My gramma on my dad’s side is 90 now (2017), and shes still going strong. She had 9 kids if I remembered correctly. A few of them died during the Vietnam war. She housed and fed Viet Cong soldiers during the war, and the only thing she ever complained about was how they never came back to thank her.
Bà ngoại (2015) Oil on Panel. 8×10 in. My gramma on my mom’s side is reaching 80 (2017). She raised 4 kids for the most part by herself. She constantly worried and fussed about her grand kids’ well being. “Oh my its cold out, you should wear a jacket!” she’d always say. Even when I’m an adult, she still buys me gummy bears that I’ve loved since I was a kid. She used to live with her kids in a neighborhood full of her old lady friends. But her kids got married and moved out, so now she lives in an apartment. I wish I could visit her on a daily basis.
Hai em (2015) Oil on Canvas. 18×24 in. Twins. Their nick name is “Un” and “In,” which together is the sound that a pig– their zodiac– would make. My sister is quiet, but when the rowdy brother is around, they are both monsters.
Sarah (2016) Oil on Canvas. 16 x 20. Sarah is super smart, talented, and thoughtful but shy about it. She can paint, play guitar, play piano, sing, and graphic design. We talk about art, society, and politics often. It’s nice to share my thought with her and vice versa.
Mẹ (2017) Oil on Canvas. 16 x 20. My stepmom grew up during the Vietnam war. Her gramma died shielding her from a bomb blast. During the “doi moi” period after the war, everyone was poor; she sewed clothes for money while going to school. She eventually became a diplomat and ran a successful gallery. She met Bill Clinton, who bought a painting from her. She helped my dad raised me in America. She bought me my first easel and set of oil paint, and supported my art career. She also had a habit of heating up my cold orange juice so I would not get a sore throat.