Artist Tran Thanh Canh: Galleries and Artists to collectively create a professional environment

The “Young Professional Artists – Vietart Today 2016” Competition is launched, calling for participation of all Vietnamese Artists under 40 years of age (YOB since 1976). The First Prize is worth more than VND 2.6 billion, Second Prize is more than VND 1.5 billion, and Third Prize is more than VND 1 billion.

Tran Thanh Canh – Painter

In an interview conducted by Sport & Culture (VNA), artist Tran Thanh Canh, Chairperson of Young Artists' Club, Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association and a judging panel member said:

“In Vietnam, where a genuine market for paintings has not yet been in place, where the gap between training and practice is so huge, then the path for a young Artists to become a professional is way too challenging.

Favorable condition, if any, is the self-motivation that the artist accumulated himself along his way; the painful experiences may turn out invaluable lessons. Right from this sterile land, the tree of life deepens its roots. Fortunately, there are many welcoming signals of opportunities opening - those young painters who are well-prepared, be ready to catch the good wind and soar up”, Artist Tran Thanh Canh (Chairperson of the Young Artists’ Club, Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association), a member of the judging panel, shares his opinions with Sport & Culture Magazine.

* We often say: “the artist creates himself”, but is self-creation an easy process? And in your opinion, in Vietnam, has the environment for those creations been shared, recognized, and promoted in a sufficient and professional way?

- Artist in Vietnam (in general) may be more familiar with individual working style, not many of them have the proper group-working ideology and manner.

Environment for creating (especially for young painters), sharing, recognizing, promoting, etc. in Vietnam is insufficient. Partly because we have not yet been successful in formulating a genuine market for paintings, meanwhile the community of big and enthusiastic collectors remains modest, no mutual trust between galleries and painters. Overall speaking, our fine art ecosystem is weak and depleted.

* How should the relationship between Artists and the galleries, and vice versa, be properly formed?

- Artists and galleries should sit down together, discuss on the sustainable values, so that they can establish a mutual respect. Both parties should put aside their instant benefits, to create a mutual trust based on a protocol that ensures the uniqueness of art – for which, exclusive contract is a typical example.

This protocol facilitates the circulation of art works among collectors and auction houses, etc. With the support of systematic image-promotion procedures and strategies by the gallery team, the position of the artist will also be leveraged. In this way, both parties will gain benefits in long run, and the standard of fine art will also be improved in general.

Painting: Butcher’s shop, oil on canvas, 160cm x 160cm, 2014), by Nguyen Van Du

* Given those reasons, what do you expect or look for in VIETART Today 2016 Competition?

- I expect this will be a golden opportunity for the gallery (the prime sponsor) and young artists to find each other, together they build the mutual trust and give each other the opportunity to actualize the “ambition” to create a professional environment for fine arts.

* Being a “young” member of the judging panel, making judgment on the works of your peer colleagues, do you find yourself under any pressure?

- As far as I know, the organizers invite five judges from different countries, working in different fields, but all involving in fine arts. I think this is a good “technique”, which ensures a fair and multi-dimensional judgment on the works, and giving the contestants the valuable experience as well as opportunity to expose to the practical situation (the combination between art and commerce), which will be reflected in the result of the competition.

I myself join the judging panel in the role and responsibility of the Chairman of the Young Painters Club; besides the technical aspects, I will also provide judgment from the perspective of a lecturer of fine art. Some young painters may find this an obstacle for objective judgment, yet I suggest that this might me a judgmental conclusion. On the contrary, I will take the “debate” role, on your behalf to demonstrate the thoughts of young persons amidst the creation of your works, help you better present your art projects to other collectors in the voting for final result.

 The judging panel members include: Tran Thanh Canh, Artists; Ildegarda E. Scheidegger, Ph.D. of Art (former Director of Asian Fine Art of Sotheby’s Auction House); Thanh Kieu Moeller, Curator; Julie Lam, Collector; Olivier Do Ngoc, Collector. For more details on Vietart Today 2016, visit The Competition is co-organized by The V Art and Young Painters’ Club (Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association), sponsored by Galerie Nguyen (Ho Chi Minh City)