SPREADING SUCCESS

Having made her name, artist Nguyen Thi Chau Giang now hopes to give other Vietnamese artists a helping hand.

By Ngoc Linh on January 08,2018 03:57 PM

SPREADING SUCCESS

Photos provided by the artist (artist Nguyen Thi Chau Giang)

Few artists have been as successful in various fields as Vietnamese expatriate artist Nguyen Thi Chau Giang, who has been recognised by local and international artists and audiences.

Chau Giang is a pianist, painter and fashion designer and is now trying to connect Vietnamese artists with those from around the world in an effort to make Vietnamese arts better known internationally.

Honoured in the US

Chau Giang was born in Hanoi and, at a young age, took her first piano lessons on a Gaveau upright, a gift from her father. She even learned to dance and sing in French. At the age of six, she was chosen to entertain a battalion of Vietnamese soldiers.

Nguyen Thi Chau Giang was born in Hanoi in 1972. She started music lessons at the Hanoi College of Music and Fine Arts at the age of eight. In 1992, she went to the US to further her music training.She has had many musical performances and art exhibitions in the US. Her paintings have been selected by different collectors, such as Robert Redford, Prince Albert of Monaco, princes from Bahrain, and directors of the Guggenheim Museum. Some of her paintings have become a proprietary product of the world-famous American confectioner Chocolate Marie Belle. Her paintings on their chocolate boxes were selected by Business Insider magazine as one of the ten most luxurious chocolate boxes in the world in 2016.

Nguyen Thi Chau Giang was born in Hanoi in 1972. She started music lessons at the Hanoi College of Music and Fine Arts at the age of eight. In 1992, she went to the US to further her music training.She has had many musical performances and art exhibitions in the US. Her paintings have been selected by different collectors, such as Robert Redford, Prince Albert of Monaco, princes from Bahrain, and directors of the Guggenheim Museum. Some of her paintings have become a proprietary product of the world-famous American confectioner Chocolate Marie Belle. Her paintings on their chocolate boxes were selected by Business Insider magazine as one of the ten most luxurious chocolate boxes in the world in 2016.

At eleven, she performed her first piano recital at the Hanoi Opera House. She later studied at the Hanoi College of Music and Fine Arts, where she was offered invitations from the Indonesian Government to perform for their dignitaries and visiting European diplomats.

In the 1990s, Chau Giang received music training in New York City, first at the Juilliard School for Piano Repertoire and Piano Ensemble under the tutelage of the late Maestro Gyorgy Sandor, and later at the Manhattan School of Music, where she was taught by Zenon Fishbein. In 1997, she became the first Vietnamese student to graduate from that prestigious institution.

She has also performed at major theatres in the US, including the Steinway, Disney and Lincoln Center. Her paintings, meanwhile, have been displayed at different galleries and museums in the US and elsewhere, including two famous museums: the Oceanographic Museum and the Naval Museum in Monaco.

‘Since childhood, I have been lucky to live and have lessons in places filled with arts,’ she said. ‘When I was young, I lived in Hanoi and had great lessons at the Hanoi College of Music and Fine Arts. I mainly had music lessons, but I also went to arts classes. At the age of 20, I had the chance to go to the US for further music training. I lived in Manhattan, a great city where anyone can become an artist. I still remember the strong desire to draw and paint in my first days in the country. At times, when I looked in the fridge and saw I had enough food for several days, I just turned on some music and sat down and painted, sometimes for 17 hours at a time. I could finish a painting after a piece of music. Strangely enough, my friends called my paintings “instant noodles”. I could finish a painting in a short period of time and they sold at high prices.’

She also remembers the feeling when she was first invited to have her paintings exhibited, in 2003. She made up her mind quickly, and just five days later her paintings were on show.

There, she met a couple, an American man and his French wife, who had a art gallery. The wife visited Chau Giang’s house and became interested in her paintings, and invited her to have her works displayed at their gallery.

Chau Giang recalls that, in those days, she painted pictures with her fingertips. Now she paints with different materials, like pencil, paint and acrylic. She first chose painting as a way to relax, but became so passionate she couldn’t stop.

When asked whether she is more interested in music or painting, she wasn’t sure. She does her work according to the season, and is something of a workaholic.

Her friends all say they are entertained by different things when they visit Chau Giang. They may listen to music, admire paintings, enjoy great food, or look at her fashion designs.

Recently, a museum in Monaco asked her to make some statues. At first, she hesitated, but they talked her into turning her hand to it. Her statues are now on display at the museum.

Chau Giang says she only plays the piano and paints pictures, preferring not to say she can do various things. But many people know she is excellent at different things, and some of her friends from Harvard University once came to her house and said they would examine her to see why she had so many ‘heads’.

Connecting Vietnamese artists with the world

She has recently shuttled several times between the US and Vietnam and has launched different music and art projects in Vietnam.

After living and working in the US for more than 20 years, she has contacts with many famous art organisations and celebrated artists around the world, some of whom are among the world’s Top 25 most famous.

SPREADING SUCCESS

She says it wasn’t too difficult to become famous, but now she is more concerned about helping other Vietnamese artists rise to world-class levels, bridging the gap between Vietnamese art and art from around the world.

In her opinion, nobody loves artists more than artists. She believes that only artists have empathy for each other and can share their feelings. She has had the opportunity to work with renowned artists in Vietnam and around the globe, and now wants to share her experience with other artists in Vietnam.

In November, she and other local and international artists such as Le Huy Tiep and Nguyen Thu Thuy in Vietnam and Benjamin Shine in the US opened a painting exhibition in Hoi An entitled the ‘International Almanity - ArternativelightArt’ Exhibition, as the first step for other art projects around Vietnam to be carried out by her and her associates.

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