By Brittany Ward
April 10, 2018
Pha Nguyen, a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, photography intern at Stella Collective and part-time art teacher for an elementary school, shared a taste of his artistic talent at this month’s First Friday last week. After Stella Collective, 101 N 14th St., #7, had asked Nguyen to display his art, it was the perfect opportunity to showcase pieces that haven’t been seen by the public before.
Nguyen’s art is self-described as, “uman. Personal. Melancholic quiet. Sensitive. Uncanny. Mysterious.” That could not be more accurate from the pieces he displayed on Friday. Each piece was that, human, sensitive, personal and each told a story.
“One of my biggest inspirations came from my upbringing within the Catholic faith. Throughout my life I’ve seen many sculptures, mosaics, frescoes and paintings in churches and cathedrals,” said Nguyen. “The beauty of the figures put me in awe and always inspired to make something that is beautiful but at the same time, stands for something meaningful. From there, I take inspiration and put them into my works.”
From third grade in Vietnam to today, Nguyen’s love for creating art has not slowed down. Making art, appreciating art and beauty around him, there have not been many days that he wasn’t inspired to make art. Not only were his surroundings and upbringing important to his creativity but also the people that matter most, family, friends and himself.
“They all have history and somehow I’m lucky enough to be a part of their life in some way that’s unique and beautiful,” he said. Whether sharing my story or sharing others’ stories is something I really enjoy and feel happy doing it.”
Highlights of the night were two stunning portraits of Nguyen’s grandmother. With her recently turning 90 years old and starting to have memory trouble, Nguyen wanted to share with the world how incredible she is.
The process behind completing a project comes with multiple disciplines for Nguyen. First, he uses charcoal or graphite to draft the idea, photography to capture his subjects and oil paint to bring his ideas to life.
Next, Nguyen would like to experiment with mixed media. Keep on the lookout for his work in the future.
For more of Nguyen’s work, check out his Instagram.
Brittany Ward is an editorial intern with KZUM.