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


Meditation by Thu Nguyen


me at work by Thu Nguyen


Peace at last by Thu Nguyen


me at work 5 by Thu Nguyen


me at work 4 by Thu Nguyen


me at work 3 by Thu Nguyen


me at work 2 by Thu Nguyen


me at work by Thu Nguyen


The Morning Symphony by Thu Nguyen


Two Boats by Thu Nguyen


Lake Washington Lily Pad 5 by Thu Nguyen


Tacoma by Thu Nguyen


Red by Thu Nguyen



Trunk of Life by Thu Nguyen


Sweet Dreams by Thu Nguyen


3 A.M. by Thu Nguyen


Sleep by Thu Nguyen


Lily Pad 19 by Thu Nguyen


Change of Season by Thu Nguyen


Looking Ahead by Thu Nguyen


Port of Seattle by Thu Nguyen


Laupahoehoe by Thu Nguyen


Looking Up by Thu Nguyen


Contemplation by Thu Nguyen


Looking Away by Thu Nguyen


Mending by Thu Nguyen


The Meeting by Thu Nguyen


Amelie-An and her ducks by Thu Nguyen


Leader and Followers by Thu Nguyen


The Sidewalk Religion by Thu Nguyen


Grab tear and spill by Thu Nguyen


Facing Storm by Thu Nguyen


Missing The Boat by Thu Nguyen


Ticket To Ride by Thu Nguyen


Go-Betweens by Thu Nguyen


Passing Train by Thu Nguyen


I Can Fly by Thu Nguyen


Burlington Northern Santa Fe by Thu Nguyen


Star Maker by Thu Nguyen


Alone Together by Thu Nguyen


Amelie-An 's World by Thu Nguyen


Why Me by Thu Nguyen


Nooo by Thu Nguyen


Amelie-An 15 by Thu Nguyen


No by Thu Nguyen



Learning to talk by Thu Nguyen


Amelie-An 12 by Thu Nguyen


Amelie-An 11 by Thu Nguyen