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


Red Lips by Thu Nguyen


Desire by Thu Nguyen


Promise of a new beginning by Thu Nguyen


Gentleness by Thu Nguyen


Love at first sight by Thu Nguyen


Unconscious Beauty by Thu Nguyen


Perfect Happiness by Thu Nguyen


Looking Back by Thu Nguyen


Ready to fly by Thu Nguyen


Home by Thu Nguyen


Field of Dream by Thu Nguyen


The Dream by Thu Nguyen


Sea Turtle by Thu Nguyen


Girl from Sapa by Thu Nguyen


Stairway to Heaven by Thu Nguyen


Spirited Away by Thu Nguyen


Mother's Land by Thu Nguyen


The Icon by Thu Nguyen


What If by Thu Nguyen


Trade wind day by Thu Nguyen


Black Hmong Sapa 3 by Thu Nguyen


Black Hmong Sapa 2 by Thu Nguyen


Black Hmong Sapa 1 by Thu Nguyen


topless Black Hmong 2 by Thu Nguyen


topless Black Hmong by Thu Nguyen


Black Hmong Woman 9 by Thu Nguyen


Black Hmong Woman 8 by Thu Nguyen


Black Hmong Woman 7 by Thu Nguyen


Black Hmong Woman 6 by Thu Nguyen


Black Hmong Woman 5 by Thu Nguyen


Black Hmong Woman 4 by Thu Nguyen


Black Hmong Woman 3 by Thu Nguyen


Black Hmong Woman 2 by Thu Nguyen


Black Hmong Woman 1 by Thu Nguyen


Hapuna Beach by Thu Nguyen


The Taro Farm Girl by Thu Nguyen


Grace's Story by Thu Nguyen


The Green Dress by Thu Nguyen


The Star of The Sea by Thu Nguyen


The Island Man by Thu Nguyen


Hawaiian Prince by Thu Nguyen


Hanohano Hawaii Kuauli by Thu Nguyen


Flower in her hair by Thu Nguyen


The Hawaiian Princess by Thu Nguyen


Vivaldi by Thu Nguyen


July 4th by Thu Nguyen


Forever Summer by Thu Nguyen


in the studio by Thu Nguyen