Artist Dinh Tu Phong was born in Hanoi, and shortly afterwards moved to Saigon where he established a career and became a successful businessman in the hospital and education sectors. His passion for painting has never stopped ever since he was young; he kept on learning from master artists. There are two great painters who he admires the most: Willem de Kooning and Gauguin.
▪️He also was attracted to the Cubist works of Pablo Picasso and Surrealism by Salvador Dali. He collects the works of artists such as Nguyen Tu Nghiem, Tran Luu Hau, Tran Hai Minh … His house is a personal museum, with miniature works of art which he loves and cherishes. Most of such pieces belong to the schools of impressionism and abstract expressionism.
The passion and aspiration of Artist Dinh Phong
“I live in a space full of pictures and statues, but never thought I would draw. But my passion for reading, researching painting in-depth made me always think and want to touch brushes, colors, paint, to create my own works. When I look deeply into myself, I focus on my inner worldview. And the more I felt these obsessions and desires.
▪️In my personal collection of works by Vietnamese artists, no matter how passionate I am, it is the people and stories of each author. When I look at them, I often contemplate my own world. My subconsciousness is full of color, I’m just searching for the meaning, the message of dreams coming from years past. Right at the moment that I connect them, I execute it on the canvas. When thoughts are gradually formed, barriers, fear disappears, and then I’m free, with a feeling like I haven’t connected with my inner self for a long time.
▪️When concentrating, I forget to eat, just like that, painting is like a stimulant, leading my mind from the moment of brushing until when the painting gradually takes shape. For many months now I have been drawing, I am doing sculpture with continuous vigor and passion. All things have been heard, learned from senior artists. Or have been researched and archived in the subconscious mind; they help me to understand clearly about the painting style that I pursue, and then are expressed with new methods.
▪️I use a big brush and a chisel to draw, so frankly speaking, my experiment was successful. That is when I see the cubic structure and what I imagine manifests reality by way of my painting or sculpture.
▪️“Artist Dinh Phong’s paintings are curvy blocks of color, moving freely in the background, openly and gently. Like beautiful creatures that appear before your eyes, but when you reach out to hold it with your hand, it’s just an illusion.”
How did you start your dream?
▪️It’s all based on experience and imagination. Above all, my spirit has always been centered towards art since childhood. But now, finally, the gift I received from that dedication, are the dreams that bring me closer to creativity, freedom.
▪️“Sometimes I feel from my heart, creative joy like a flash of electricity, shining in my mind. I locked myself in my room, brushing up to draw ideas that rose up in my mind. Isn’t this just creativity? It’s also a passion, a strong passion that motivates me to want to realize, and to want to let everyone see, separate and feel my surreal dreams. “
▪️Certainly, all of us are curious to know about this person who spent most of his life studying painting. Until this time, I started to draw the kinds of feelings there would be, even if they were nervous ones.
▪️Previously, artist Dinh Phong confided on social media about his experience. A late – but solid – experience that few people have: “Prepare the tools, everything’s ready to go. Yet, standing in front of white canvas, he kept shaking! Tension, nervousness, heart pounding, and sweat … “.
▪️He told himself not to be afraid, but facing what he had been learning for so long really made him tremble. “After that moment, painting becomes fascinating,” he said. “It was the most motivating of myself for any kind of work I’ve ever done before.”
Poet Han Mac Tu wrote: I write poetry? That means I’m weak! I was tempted, I betrayed everything that was in my heart, my blood, my soul – all kept secret. And also that I lost my mind, I went crazy.
▪️Artist Dinh Phong painted a dream without wings, but he was very awake. Among the conversations, only a few saw him talking about his passionate desire to express his ideas by painting. But he has a very professional plan for exhibiting and displaying his sculptures.
When you draw, do you think you’re weak or tempted?
▪️The real world and my sleep at night are like two different worlds. When I go to sleep, I dream of flying, chasing objects that cannot be grasped, abstract objects which haunt me. Painting has helped me to explore, be free and powerful. I am completely awake during the day when I return to my work. It’s only when I hold my brush or make sculptures that my dreams are created.
What do you think is the creativity, the newness in this expression?
▪️Find a way to express your subconscious or your dreams without repeating them. Unlike everyone, it’s about finding a way, a way of their own – it’s style is also creativity.
Is each picture a dream, or can a picture contain images from many different dreams?
▪️Drawing is like a process that guides me through the night, through my dreams. I drop them on the canvas in front of me, sometimes I loosen up in the flow of emotions so that the art freely connects with my dreams.
▪️Through pictures, viewers enter the forest of colors of dreams. To understand more deeply, you should directly stand in front of the work with different perspectives. I take good care of my senses first to enlighten my own garden.
When people fly and painters are best friends
▪️A distinguished, amusing businessman with a tight schedule, but with a strong passion for painting, he manages to find time to create and fly with his artist friends. They call him Dinh Phong the Painter, but he himself has found out more than being just a “painter”.
▪️You can call him a ‘Flyer with Surreal Dreams’. People who fly, at the crossroads of life, have met friends and artists. They are people with deep knowledge of art, sharing their beliefs. passion, understanding, so that people fly sublimated with his expressive abstract style.
▪️Dinh Phong’s paintings are full of courage and full of inner strength. Creation originates towards the delicate and beautiful aesthetic values of a profound and diverse artistic life.
▪️Large and medium sized paintings, acrylic on canvas seem to unleash his creative energy. Through generous pen strokes, flying colors, people enjoy being lost in the world of art with dreams without wings, through time and space.
▪️Besides painting, he will soon release sculptures, from which he also “captured” through his surreal dreams. These two different languages of expression make it difficult to “express” your ideas?
▪️I researched the concept, the material, and the embodied material before making it. Initially, I select pictures in pictures, then sketch on paper to create shapes, add or create blocks. According to the sketch by crayon, the embryo is created, then the embryo is refined, then dried, edited.
▪️When the embryo dries completely, I use two types of yeast: folk yeast and oxide glaze, to paint on the works. I purposely shape, by using the heating process, and to also create a random effect. How to draw enamel, color like that. When combining two types of yeast, it will create unexpected effects which is very interesting
▪️To achieve the desired visual effect, especially when placed in a 3-dimensional space, products should be tested several times, with the properties of pottery, cover, enamel, and then grouped. The end effect produces many surprises. Wait for the work to come out and you will have a very special feeling about these strange objects.
▪️His bronze and glazed ceramic sculptures are the “fragments” of surreal dreams. He arranged them together to create a new, poetic sculpture. A studio, workshop, sculpture, and pottery kiln, with a long and large workshop space being built, will be completed later this year in My Tho. Where I work, create, meet artists, and people who love art.
Translated by SonWeb
145/12 Nguyễn Đình Chính. P. 11, Q. Phú Nhuận, Tp. Hồ Chí Minh.
Art Space: Ấp cây xanh, Châu Thành, Tiền Giang, Việt Nam