Lacquer painting means to me: The combination of patience and beauty of the material that comes from nature.
When I paint: The effect is always different each time, disappointment or an amazing surprise. That is why lacquer painting is never copied.
A brush is: Is anything I can use to create textures.
The sun, the tropical heat, the crowds and at night, the neon lights are always on. This is Saigon. My hometown. Saigon feels young. Trends are surfacing fast and artists keep themselves in the forefront. Access to resources and creative materials makes it easier to work with art.
I am Diep. I study lacquer painting at the Ho Chi Minh University of Fine Arts. I observe the changing Saigon. The first two years at university, we studied the basics as well as trying out new media/art forms. In the third year, I explored my favourite art forms.
The technique in lacquer painting is an inheritance. Passed down through generations.
Oil painting, traditional lacquer and silk paintings. I enjoyed exploring the art forms. You don’t always fall in love with the final artwork. Yet, you feel it when you see the process. Each image starts with the idea sketched on paper. To me, the pigment is the most flexible and suitable material at this stage. The pigment is also a major component in the lacquer paint mixture. It is used to create a variety of colours.
The ideas in my paintings stem from the rhythm of the city. I like the crowded streets. The neon lights are always bright, but also make me feel lonely. That is what I wanted to show in my paintings, that noisy loneliness. When the night falls, the children rush into the many playgrounds. The darkness arrives after 6 pm. Within 30 minutes it is dark. During the day the children have to be at school.
Only at night, that messy beauty appears in my eyes. I sit there for hours, sketching, memorising the sneaky glances of children. The task of each generation of painters is to show the life and characteristics of their time. I try to incorporate that into my lacquer paintings. To use an old traditional art form and add a modern look to it.
Lacquer painting is not only in Vietnam. Korea, China, Japan and Myanmar have also a tradition of lacquer painting. As there are many countries, there are also many techniques. My future hope is to be able to learn as much as possible. To combine that knowledge and make the techniques richer.
The technique in lacquer painting is an inheritance. Passed down through generations. If I cannot understand how the seniors make it, my own path to understanding is limited. This is my challenge.
When I am standing in front of the masterpieces made by Hoang Tram, I am filled with emotions. Deep layers of paint, yet, the paint surface is perfectly flat. Flat as well as smooth as thin layers of water covering the whole painting. This is the technical beauty I seek to master with my own works. Using old craftsmanship with modern motifs. This is the direction I am pursuing.