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


Amelie-An 10 by Thu Nguyen


Amelie-An 9 by Thu Nguyen


Amelie-An 8 by Thu Nguyen


Amelie-An 7 by Thu Nguyen


Amelie-An 6 by Thu Nguyen


Amelie-An 5 by Thu Nguyen


Amelie-An 4 by Thu Nguyen


Amelie-An 3 by Thu Nguyen


Amelie-An 2 by Thu Nguyen


Amelie-An by Thu Nguyen


Attitude 2 by Thu Nguyen


Fire and Water by Thu Nguyen


fire and sand by Thu Nguyen


The Big Smoke by Thu Nguyen


Attitude by Thu Nguyen


On the divide by Thu Nguyen


A line between ocean and sand 2 by Thu Nguyen


A line between ocean and sand by Thu Nguyen


January Afternoon Mukilteo Washington by Thu Nguyen


View from Spencer by Thu Nguyen


Sunset in Paradise by Thu Nguyen


A Boat and A Bird by Thu Nguyen


A Day at Center For Wooden Boats by Thu Nguyen


A December Day by Thu Nguyen


Going Up by Thu Nguyen


An Evening in Juneau Alaska by Thu Nguyen


Bering Sea by Thu Nguyen


Plein Air 106 by Thu Nguyen


Dream Walk by Thu Nguyen


Plein Air 103 by Thu Nguyen


Plein Air 104 by Thu Nguyen


Coming Home To God by Thu Nguyen


Plein Air 102 by Thu Nguyen


Plein Air 101 by Thu Nguyen


Night Drive by Thu Nguyen


An Opening by Thu Nguyen


A Summer Day on Cottonwood Pass by Thu Nguyen


Midday Sun by Thu Nguyen


May Morning Arkansas River 6 by Thu Nguyen


Late Afternoon Sun by Thu Nguyen


8 A.M. by Thu Nguyen


15698 168th Ave. S.E. by Thu Nguyen


May Morning Arkansas River 5 by Thu Nguyen


View from Viaduct by Thu Nguyen


Glacier Bay National Park 2 by Thu Nguyen


Floating Trail 2 by Thu Nguyen


Commencement Bay by Thu Nguyen


Terminal 102 by Thu Nguyen