Thursday, February 19, 2009

Texas Artist: Vongduane Manivong

Vongduane Manivong is a Laotian American painter popular for her depictions of the daily lives of Laotians around the world, in addition to her figurative work. As part of the first generation of
Laotian American artists, she exhibits widely across the US including the Midwest,California, Rhode Island, and her home state of Texas.

Her style evolves frequently and she is regularly commissioned for private portraits reflecting both the subject and her distinctive approach to art. You can visit her online at

1. People often talk about how the get started in the arts, but less so why they remain in the arts. What's been the driving motivation for you to keep creative?

Vongduane: Ever since I could remember, art was just something I always wanted to do. I never talk much ever since I was a child, so, art always been cathartic, a way to express and share my emotion without talking about it. I knew that I may not be blessed enough to make a living with my art, but I knew I need to share and grow the gift that have been given to me. Art has been my loyal companion through some rough times, and it has become the strongest ambassador to my passions. Art is a link between love and life. For a moment, you share true, universal emotion with another person.

2. When is a piece finished, to you?

Vongduane: It is often difficult to decide when a painting is finished. I'd have to critique the painting from time to time adjusting flaws in a value contrast or color temperature, etc. When painting, I have to be careful adding elements from the imagination without any reference to look at. The will effect the scene in many ways, and things must make sense to be believable. Otherwise, the viewer need not be an expert to "feel" something is wrong with what they are looking at – they just know it. I'd come to the finishing point when I am satisfied with the result and cannot do better.

3. What's been the biggest surprise for you about the creative process?
Vongduane: Painting becomes more enjoyful when it provides constant surprises, both in the form of the entire painting and the minute details of a small area. I often work on at least two paintings at once and these will in some way offer parallel and opposing responses to the same emotional moment.

The more you create, the more ideas come to your mind. Like any other talent or endeavor, the more you do it, the better you become. There's a creative confidence that also grows with every painting. I am always thrilled when anyone asks me about the emotion of my art. Every piece of my art has its own story and its own emotion, and I sincerely enjoy sharing that story with those who are interested enough to ask.

4. Who have been your persistent inspirations for your art?
Vongduane: Although other artists, nature, people and relationships have tremendously inspired me, I have arrived at my style through my own experience, my own thoughts and my own philosophy. I have always painted what concerns me as a person and how I view things. A show for me is like opening my diary for people to see. Every show is a reflection that teaches me and gives me another tangent to follow. My fascination with the human emotion and form can be easily felt when viewing my work in person.

5. What was your most difficult piece to complete so far?

I would say I haven't had the most difficult piece so far. 

However, I have found that working in the art industry has provided me with a very fortunate challenge. Keeping up with the demand from galleries and collectors while still balancing my home life has been challenging.

6. What are some of your next projects you're working on?
Vongduane: I have lots of ideas and views of what I wanted to paint for my personal projects. I am currently working on pieces that depict the Lao children and their surroundings. The newest piece of work I am pretty excited about is titled "Children at Play/The Marble Shooters."

The everyday lives of people and their surroundings are my inspiration. I love the interplay of light and shadows and the details in expressions. I constantly accept commission work from clients as well.

In addition, I will continue to travel, meet people and be inspired to create. I have been blessed with many wonderful years in art, and like many, I look forward to the years to come. I won't be putting away my easel any time soon – in fact, I never will!

No comments: