Vietnamese born Duy Huynh creates poetic and contemplative acrylic paintings, drawing inspiration from a variety of storytellers in formats that range from music and movies to ancient folklore and comic book adventures. While much of his work is deeply personal, his clever and often times humorous use of symbolism and wordplay invites the viewer to create their own storyline.
Themes of geographical and cultural displacement are prevalent in Duy’s artwork. Ethereal characters maintain a serene, precarious balance, often in a surreal or dreamlike setting. With his figures, Duy explores motion along with emotion in order to portray not just the beauty of the human form, but also the triumph of the human spirit.
Duy’s interest in art began shortly after his arrival to the States in the early eighties. With difficulties adapting to new surroundings and language, he took refuge in the art of comics, cartoons, and graffiti. His first art commission came in the third grade when a classmate hired him to draw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Payment came in the form of 2 dollars and chocolate milk for the week. More importantly, Duy learned it was possible to make a connection through the use of a visual language. This simple experience serves as a reminder for him even today to always enjoy and maintain his childhood love.
Duy received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration and painting fromUNC Charlotte in 1999 and opened Lark & Key Gallery with wife, Sandy Snead, in 2008.
What five words best describe your work?
Contemplative, atmospheric, dreamlike, enchanting and occasionally humorous.
What is a typical workday like for you?
I am fortunate to have an in-home studio, so my commute is just a few steps downstairs. (Although this can feel like a curse at times because of the difficulty to mentally turn off the work switch.) I enjoy getting an early start, usually around 6 or 7 a.m. My day begins with feeding the cats, making coffee and then painting for a few hours. After lunch I work for another few hours, feed the cats, my spouse and myself again then often return to the studio. Wash brushes, rinse and repeat the next day. Each day might be slightly different depending on a deadline and other commitments, but this is a pretty typical work day. It may not seem very exciting, but I am able to find endless adventures within the process.
What do you listen to while you work?
Besides the voices in my head and the imaginary critique sessions with my cats, I like to make and select a variety of playlists to possibly set a tone for the type of work I’m pursuing that day. Lately some of these playlists consist of songs from bands such asBeach House, Beirut, Tame Impala and a myriad of obscure instrumental tracks. I also enjoy listening to certain podcasts or having the t.v. on in the background.
What is your favorite thing about being an artist?
I get to do something I love on a regular basis and people actually enjoy the results. That’s hard to beat! Also, I get to wear black year round!