Saigoneer

BackArts & Culture » Local Illustrator Breathes New Life Into Vietnam's Classic Folk Paintings

Local Illustrator Breathes New Life Into Vietnam's Classic Folk Paintings

Illustrator Nguyen Xuan Lam’s project revamps 20 Vietnamese folk paintings through modern graphic design techniques.

In 2017, Lam started his pet project, titled Folk Paintings - the Remake, in which the artist took folk paintings, such as those in the style of Hang Trong or Dong Ho in northern Vietnam, and gave them a new look, one that's more fitting to contemporary aesthetics.

The collection, which can be seen in full on his Behance page, offers vivid depictions of traditional images including 'Rooster and Roses', 'Five Tigers', 'Vicious Gamecocks', 'Lady Trieu' and 'Yue Lao' (The Matchmaker Deity). Lam includes English explanations of each image’s importance, such as the caption for 'Drift of Pigs': “The painting features a litter of piglets surrounding a corpulent pig, which stands for the dream of a prosperous, peaceful and fruitful life. It is often presented to the newlyweds in the hope that they will soon have babies.”

The renditions were inspired by Dong Ho folk woodcut paintings, Hang Trong paintings and religious paintings from the northern provinces. Xuan said of the idea: "It came to me fortuitously when I visited Vietnam’s Museum of Arts looking for Vietnamese Indochina old master paintings for ideas and inspirations for my final assignment at Vietnam’s University of Fine Arts. I accidentally went to the folk paintings room which was quite quiet, I spent few hours there and no one came to this room. Apart from familiar folk paintings I came across, I happened to see the strange ones that I hadn’t ever seen before. It would be great if these paintings are expressed in a different way."

Lam also organized an intimate art exhibition to showcase his creations to the public during last year's Tet period in Hanoi. The event was warmly received by locals: some 400 visitors turned up during its two-week run. Xuan explains to Saigoneer via email that he hopes the works will inspire “the youth to discover the beauty of traditional arts in general and folk paintings in particular.”

The paintings were featured in full at an exhibition that saw 400 guests during its two-week run.

The images were also printed on tote bags, envelopes, notebooks, and calendars. Local fashion designer Hoa Nguyen helped place them on bomber jackets and dresses while hoodies and t-shirts were made with the help of Tired City, a Hanoi-based brand. You can purchase some of the items at the Tired City online store.

Have a peek at some of Lam's folk painting remakes below:

'Red Tiger'

'Drift of Pigs'

'Seven Kids'

'Crane'


Related Articles:

Vietnamese, English Versions of Acclaimed Art Book 'The First Journey' Now Available for Order

- [Photos] This Artist Creates Ukiyo-e Paintings of Basketball Stars

- A Present Retrospective: Fusing Past, Present and Propaganda


Related Articles

in Arts & Culture

'Napalm Girl' Kim Phuc Awarded International Peace Prize in Germany

Nearly 50 years after the iconic photo of her running from a bombing raid was taken, Phan Thi Kim Phuc has earned Germany's Dresden award for her support of UNESCO and children wounded in war.

in Arts & Culture

Gucci Is Selling a $450 Hat That Looks Just Like Straw Hats Worn by Farmers in Vietnam

The artificial bamboo hats by Gucci closely resemble those traditionally worn by Vietnamese in the rice fields. The only difference is that the Vietnamese version costs only a few thousand dong.

in Arts & Culture

Here Are the First Images of Japan's 2022 Ghibli Theme Park

The beloved Japanese animation studio released images of the much-anticipated theme park, set to open near Nagoya, Japan in 2022.

in Arts & Culture

New Digital Typeface L'Hanoienne Preserves Classic Hanoi Hand-Painted Fonts

Hanoi streets' handprinted signs haven't been replaced with neon like in other Asian metropolises, yet; but when they are, their traditional lettering will not be lost forever.

in Arts & Culture

Saigoneer Podcast: Writing in a Second Language, Saigon's Japan Town and Artist Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen

It's Monday and even the absence of our editor-in-chief can't stop the release of another podcast. 

in Arts & Culture

The Horror-Comedy Zombie Flick That's Raking in 250 Times Its Budget in Japan

Made by a group of unknowns, One Cut of the Dead, cost just US$27,000 but is set to earn US$10 million amid international acclaim.

Video »

BUDX HCMC