Thu Nguyen is an American realist with a modernist vision. Her paintings are well within the tradition of American realism as defined by artists such as Thomas Eakins and Andrew Wyeth. Like these artists, Nguyen looks at America’s heart—its land and its people—and describes the beauty she finds in everyday life. Her paintings celebrate the underlying epic nature of the commonplace and the personal significance of the extraordinary.
I was born in Saigon, Vietnam. Being very shy, I spent much of my childhood upstairs making quilts, doll clothes, and painting, instead of playing with other children. My painting won Best of Show prize at a 1974 children's exhibition in Saigon sponsored by UNICEF. In 1975, my family was split up. I ended up in Hong Kong for a year prior to immigrating to the United States as an orphan. After one very snowy and cold winter in Pennsylvania, I came to Los Angeles ( where I had a stint with Hollywood - I got a part in Oliver Stone's 'Heaven and Earth' and followed with a lead role in Elizabeth Hong Yang's 'Touch Within' in China , while working as a fashion model for 4 years). Since then I have lived, worked, and exhibited my work in many parts of the U.S.