Artist: Nguyen Hai Anh
*Some people may think this is a hasty decision because your career as an independent artist is promising, what would you say about it?
To me, I am an artist first and foremost. I prefer to leave the commercial aspect to those that are better equipped to handle its intricacies. The galleries have the distinct advantage of reaching out to a wider audience through events, exhibitions, advertising and promotions. Professional galleries have the resources and staff to handle these.
I am currently an exclusive artist for Galerie Nguyen. They have given my work extensive exposure in art events, expos, and auctions here and overseas. Having professional representation has improved the value of my work immensely. I plan to continue my close relationship with Galerie Nguyen as our trust has proven to be mutually beneficial
*You said that “participating in art competitions and exhibitions with a desire for success is a challenging journey”. If that is the case, what type of artist do you want to become?
As an artist I take great pride in showing my work to people and my fellow artists.
Currently, young artists often participate in competitions to gain exposure in the field. It also helps them to grow in their career. I myself have gone to numerous competitions. I was fortunate to receive a number of awards. I was a great delight at first, but I came to realize that much more needed to be done to develop professionally. I have spent much time for art, research and experiments. I aim to become an artist with good expertise.
The painting Vendors in town _ Oil on canvas _ 120 x 220cm _ By Nguyễn Hải Anh artist.
*Why don’t you want to sell it directly to buyers but through galleries?
*Private galleries who are profit-driven oftentimes stifle creativity. Oftentimes, galleries influence artists to come up with more “marketable” work. What has been your experience working exclusively for Galerie Nguyen?
Most private galleries in Vietnam are for-profit. That’s a fact. Their business model helps introduce art to interested audiences. Each gallery has their own objective. For-profit galleries have a profit objective as they need the necessary funding to run and expand their business. Some are geared towards on art sponsorship and less emphasis on commercial distribution. This business model cannot sustain for long as they rely heavily on external funding sources such as sponsors. On the other hand, some galleries are too profit-oriented, and not very selective in doing business. Oftentimes, they lack transparency and resort to fraudulent transactions. I worry that domestic and international collectors will lose their trust in us. This will eventually cause the downfall of the Vietnamese fine arts market.
In reality, gallery artworks include both “marketable” and “unmarketable” ones.
The marketability of a painting is subject to several factors. It is said that “unmarketable” paintings are created for art’s sake, while “marketable” work possess less technique and uniqueness. That may be partly true and does not necessarily hold for all the cases.
I work with Galerie Nguyen on the basis of mutual cooperation. I have my freedom in making art: I come up with an interesting idea, I sketch out a new series, I discuss it with the gallery and they encourage me to develop it.
*Can you explain in more detail on how being an exclusive artist gives you more freedom and become more in-depth in painting?
An artist’s time is a precious resource. I chose to work with Galerie Nguyen so I can immerse myself in creating. When you are free from the daily concerns of life, you have your whole time for your craft. I don’t think there’s anything more ideal than that. I normally spend a considerable amount of time creating an idea. Sometimes six to eleven months, even more. During that process, Galerie Nguyen continues to support me while I create. The artist is therefore relieved from the burden of daily life.
*What is your opinion about fame? Nowadays there are many channels that can help you become famous, like Facebook, for example. Why don't you establish an online presence as a tool to promote your work?
Some believe that nobody in this world lives without dreaming of fame and wealth. In my opinion, it’s what motivates you to seek fame and wealth. Is it to satisfy your ego or you want to achieve something more lofty and meaningful.
In the current art context, Facebook is used as a key information channel to introduce and promote artists’ works. Having their masterpieces sold and successfully introduced to the public is always most exciting news to artists, and they could reinvest in their next works of art then. However, I did not choose to promote my works on Facebook since selling via social network is, in fact, extremely difficult and not sustainable.
*Taking this path, how do you imagine your future?
I always remember what the Buddha has taught: "Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment". I reckon that striving to live your life to the fullest in the present, we will have a past without regrets as well as a deserving future. At this phase of my life, I find myself content in the present. There are not too many weights I need to carry on my shoulders, which makes me totally free to pursue my passions and dreams. I am young and still have plenty of time for create. I maintain a good working relationship with the gallery and put my trust wholly in their plans for me.