Betty Nguyen (Lives and works in Los Angeles)
She is a book editor (First Person Magazine), a curator, a conceptual artist and a DJ.
In her own words:
The day I arrived at Varda Artists Residency, I went to lunch with my college professor who taught me set design and his wife answered the door yelling upwards to his studio, "Betty's an artist now!" And descending the stairs to meet me, he replied,"Well, it's about time." Eric Sinkkonen taught me not only how to build architectural models to scale, render in watercolor and to interpret text visually to create a world, but also to sail in the Sausalito bay. Being on the water at the residency, holds a special place for me. It is the backdrop of where my mentor would take out his assistants on his sailboat (he grew up competitively sailing) and educate us about the strength of the current, the wind, the shore. It was this life lesson, like surfing that taught me how to be aware of my surroundings enabling me to maneuver through life and with nature symbiotically, respectfully. Cutting through the water with just the right leaning and pulling and team communication is very meditative work.
I have come full circle taking my training as set designer, curator and DJ to make work at Varda Artists Residency. The sources I am currently referencing here explore psychedelic culture, the Vietnam identity in film and the iconography of underground bands as cultural signifiers. I've been making sculptures, constructing my book piece and will be conducting site specific visits with artists for my curatorial practice. If time allows, I would also like to return to edit my footage of Vietnam into an art piece and possible film and finish a painting. This will all come together as a solo exhibition.
My work changes medium and content constantly. The photographs below are samples of works that will be published in the German / French magazine Fairytale in 2016. The series "THE STONE RETURNS" includes original works and photographs; a clay work called, "Uninterrupted Listening" that I used experimenting with recycled glass as form and glaze with excavated clay from a dry riverbed in Arizona, the book, "My Life Story", my interest in shibari, the art of tying knots in Japan, and my obsession with rock formations beginning with the what has been theorized as the first abstract art, the Chinese Scholar Rock.
The Blackouts is Betty's latest project in collaboration with Marcos Lopez. The images and improvisation tactics of the band are part of Betty's arts and curatorial practice.