UNESCO-winning painting sold for $8,000

Submitting his works to the competition in hopes of gaining experience, Thai Tuan was devastated to learn that he had won the top prize. The painting of a peddler carrying all of Hanoi in baskets was auctioned for US$8,000 (about VND185.6 million).

Dang Thai Tuan and his award-winning artwork. Photo courtesy of the painter

Dang Thai Tuan, 22, a fourth-year Hanoi student of information technology, is the creator of the painting “Street vendors of Hanoi” which won first prize in the “Ha Noi is…” illustration competition. , organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Scientific Organization. Culture (UNESCO) in collaboration with the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat).

The evocative theme “Ha Noi is…” has inspired young artists with unconventional and refreshing ideas integrated with a personal touch to portray their own unique Hanoi. The city has been exemplified in digital paintings, silk painting, collage art, and lacquerware, among others.

The idea of ​​the whole capital carried by a traveling merchant

The winner of the competition, Dang Thai Tuan, pocketed a cash prize of VND 10 million (US$438) for his artwork “Ha Noi Rong” (Street Vendors of Hanoi), depicting the city’s cultural landmarks such as the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, among others worn on the shoulder of an animatronic street vendor.

According to the contest organizers, the painting brought the most idyllic and familiar shades of Hanoi into modern life.

Sharing his brainchild, the computer science student recalled that he heard about the “Hanoi is…” competition at the end of August 2021, when the young man was busy with his studies and many personal projects.

Thai Tuan (in orange shirt) took a photo with some of the winners of the “Ha Noi is…” contest at the French Institute of Hanoi – L’Espace in August 2021. Photo: L’Espace

“I had no inspiration to create at that time, so I didn’t sign up,” Tuan said and added that only two weeks before the submission deadline, when his personal projects were finished, he then decided to enter the competition, before rushing to finish his work on time.

Tuan had quite a headache thinking about this idea. Hanoi is a broad concept. For him, Hanoi can be ancient historical sites, or stalls serving dishes such as rice noodles with grilled pork or with fried tofu and shrimp paste. It can also be the activities of Hanoians, or simply a power pole with tangled wires.

The young man admitted that he was not able to define Hanoi with a single image. He believes that everything in Hanoi, big or small, has one basic trait in common: simplicity.

So he chose as his main inspiration simple and rustic images that are most typical of Hanoi, and the idea of ​​a street vendor who “carries everything Hanoi” came to his mind.

“I came up with the idea of ​​drawing a woman carrying a pole, and inside the baskets there are monuments, food stalls, roads, and cultural traits of the Ha Noi people,” Tuan explained. .

The time the fourth-year student drew this painting coincided with Hanoi’s period of social distancing due to Covid-19 in 2021, so there was hardly any street life to observe. The young man who grew up in the capital could only count on his memories and on Google to draw the first lines.

Still, he started because the painting encompassed many details, especially historical relics that Tuan had never drawn before. It took him a few days to take a closer look at their structures, as well as a lot of time to get a suitable layout.

“Since I had to draw a fairly wide and long image, it was quite difficult to find a good perspective. I sketched out a few different options, and in the end, I chose a bottom-up perspective,” Tuan said.

Visitors to the “Ha Noi is…” exhibition organized by UNESCO in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Sports of Ha Noi, the French Institute of Hanoi and the Vietnam Local Artist Group (VLAG). Photo: Space

Despite many difficulties, he completed the work in time for the competition, thanks to his talent and passion for painting from an early age.

During the first year of college, Tuan worked as a graphic designer for some small start-up companies to earn extra income. Then he bought a new iPad and started learning digital painting or painting using digital tools. As Tuan shared, painting has been her hobby since childhood; in the past, he often drew his favorite cartoon characters. Gradually, his drawings are no longer of cars, animals or plants, as he has become able to draw large, colorful still lifes.

After a period of practice, finally, the work that the computer student found the best was born – “Banh Chung” (Vietnamese traditional glutinous rice cake). “I tried posting it to an online design group and unexpectedly it got a lot of support.” Since then, Tuan started working in digital painting.

Supporting children affected by the Covid-19 pandemic

“Hanoi’s Street Vendors” is not Thai Tuan’s first digital work, but it contains many difficult details, including those he had never drawn before.

When the painting won the first prize, Tuan was so happy because his sleepless nights had paid off.

The painting was then auctioned with a starting bid of $3,000 during the “Fundraising Dinner – NFT painting auction” program, organized by Blockchain Huh Global Investment Fund in Hanoi in February 2022. After several bidding rounds, the table was finally fixed. at $8,000 in May, about 2.6 times higher than the original valuation.

Tuan’s latest artwork – “Once upon a time there was a bridge in Vietnam”

Tuan said that when he was invited to the auction, he didn’t really expect his work to sell for very much. After seeing the opening bid, he was amazed, and even more amazed at the successful $8,000 bidding.

“I used to make paintings for sale, but this price is dozens of times higher than the average price of my paintings,” Tuan said.

After the painting was sold, he donated half of the prize money to support poor children affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The other half is for him to create the next works of art that promote the beauty of the capital and Vietnam internationally.

Thai Tuan collaborates with a number of art and fashion brands and websites. In the future, Tuan wants to experiment with new methods in order to broaden his drawing experience.

Along with this, the 22-year-old will carry out several personal projects to introduce Vietnamese culture and people to international friends through paintings, which he also wants to auction so he can support community service projects.

Below are some digital paintings by the young artist:

The painting entitled “Lan may” or an animatronic shopping bag.
The work of art: the Hanoians.
“Cot dien” – An electric pole in Hanoi.
A stamp illustration – “Phan Dinh Phung Street”

Source: Hanoi Times

About Catharine C. Bean

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