Thu Nguyen

"Leader and Followers," 2014, by Thu Nguyen. Oil on panel, 16" x 20". Copyright © 2014 Thu Nguyen. Used by permission of the artist.

Thu Nguyen was born in Saigon, Vietnam. Being very shy, I spent much of my childhood upstairs making quilts, doll clothes, and painting, instead of playing with other children. My painting won Best of Show prize at a 1974 children’s exhibition in Saigon sponsored by UNICEF. In 1975, my family was split up. I ended up in 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 came to Los Angeles ( where I had a stint with Hollywood – 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 , while working as a fashion model for 4 years). I received my BFA in painting at California State University Long Beach . Since then I have lived, worked, and exhibited my work in many parts of the U.S.