“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.”
Throughout her high school years, Thu Nguyen 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, she fell in love with art again and changed her major from medicine to art. While in college, Thu had an acting stint in Hollywood on the side (she played a part Oliver Stone's 'Heaven and Earth,' which followed with a lead role in Elizabeth Hong Yang's 'Touch Within' in China).
After getting her art degree, Thu has since settled down to pursue her art career in Los Angeles, Seattle, and finally Hawaii. A few years ago, the artist was very excited to adopt her first daughter from China and her second daughter from Vietnamn.
BFA in painting, California State University Long Beach .
Two grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation
Three grants from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation.
Thu Nguyen's work is represented in many public and private collections in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Mexico.
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 is a member of OIL PAINTERS OF AMERICA , ALLIED ARTISTS OF AMERICA and Portrait Society of America.