Thu Nguyen


Honokaa, Hawaii


I was born in Saigon, Vietnam. Being very shy, I spent much of my childhood hiding away upstairs painting, instead of playing with other children. My first brush with success was a Best of Show prize at the 1974 children's exhibition in Saigon sponsored by UNICEF. In 1975 Saigon fell and in the resulting confusion I was separated from my parents. I ended up in a refuge camp near 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 went to Los Angeles to stay with some relatives.
During my high school years, I earned extra money doing fashion modeling work in the garment district and upon graduation started on the pre-med program in college. During this time I fell in love with art again and changed my major to art. While in college I had an acting stint in Hollywood on the side (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).
After getting my art degree, I have since settled down to pursue my art career in Los Angeles, later Seattle and finally Hawaii with the big excitement being adopting my first daughter from China and my second daughter from Vietnam.

Professional qualifications:

BFA in painting, California State University Long Beach .
Two grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation
Three grants from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation.
My work is represented in many public and private collections in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Mexico.

Current and Upcoming Exhibitions:

Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery (NPG) 2016 portrait competition exhibition (March 12, 2016 through January 8, 2017). It will then travel to five host museums across the country:

Tacoma Art Museum, WA
February 4, 2017 to May 14, 2017
Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, TX
June 2, 2017 to September 10, 2017
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO
October 8, 2017 to January 7, 2018
Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum, Naples, FL
January 31, 2018 to May 6, 2018
Ackland Museum of Art, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC
June 1, 2018 to August 26, 2018


Thu Nguyen's contact :


You can buy my original paintings at :
Thu Nguyen Art Gallery, Kamuela, Hawaii


A day in the life of an Imperial Concubine by Thu Nguyen


The Dream by Thu Nguyen


Saga of a Concubine by Thu Nguyen


The Fallen Barbie by Thu Nguyen


Aloha by Thu Nguyen


The Black Hmong Princess by Thu Nguyen


The Burger King Crown by Thu Nguyen


Jade Lady Life on the Edge by Thu Nguyen


Ohana by Thu Nguyen


Her Story by Thu Nguyen


Determination by Thu Nguyen


Lost by Thu Nguyen


Morning Sun by Thu Nguyen


I want to put a ding in the universe by Thu Nguyen


Woman in the shadow by Thu Nguyen


Chaos and Order by Thu Nguyen


Madonna by Thu Nguyen


Happiness comes from within by Thu Nguyen


Lady of Sapa by Thu Nguyen


Grey Day by Thu Nguyen


Waipio by Thu Nguyen


Winter Night by Thu Nguyen


Fall in love by Thu Nguyen


Conquest of Paradise by Thu Nguyen


Midnight in the garden by Thu Nguyen


koi Happiness by Thu Nguyen


The Main Event by Thu Nguyen


Remember Me by Thu Nguyen


Impression Sunrise Honolulu by Thu Nguyen


Impression Sunset Hapuna Beach by Thu Nguyen


Kona Sunset by Thu Nguyen


Happy Day by Thu Nguyen


Waikoloa Sunset by Thu Nguyen


Picnic by Thu Nguyen


Give Peace a Chance by Thu Nguyen


Waterworld by Thu Nguyen


After the rain by Thu Nguyen


Returned to Paradise by Thu Nguyen


Green Destiny by Thu Nguyen


Stormy day at Laupahoehoe by Thu Nguyen


Puako Sunset by Thu Nguyen


Vertigo by Thu Nguyen


Kohala Sunset by Thu Nguyen


Immortality by Thu Nguyen


Calm - Coastal landscape by Thu Nguyen


Rainbow Falls by Thu Nguyen


Englightenment by Thu Nguyen


Buddha by Thu Nguyen