The opening of Sotheby’s first exhibition in Vietnam has made us look back on the art market in the country and acknowledge its vast growth potential, especially as the local community of collectors is flourishing with a passion for art and a thirst for knowledge.
However, before this trend, some people bravely researched and introduced "unique and strange" art forms. For example, Risograph prints began to appear in Japan and the West in the mid-80s of the last century, but have only been introduced to Vietnam in recent years. Or the woodblock prints with a slightly handmade and nostalgic orientation that appeared in China in the 7th century AD but are still a new concept in Vietnam.
Vietcetera introduces you to five printing and art studios with endless creativity through each work. Putting creativity ahead of profit is the go-to for daredevils, but it fosters the creative spirit and originality relatively lost in the mass-produced art market.
Khô Mực Studio
Khô Mực is an independent printing factory in Saigon, founded by Dang Thanh Long and Simon Phan, both of whom studied graphic design. The studio focuses on Risograph printing originating from Japan, a combination of drag printing on a grid (printing each color layer) and photocopying (copying multiple prints simultaneously). This form of printing is environmentally-friendly, budget-friendly, and creates stunning special effects for each product!
Khô Mực often organizes drawing contests to bond with the creative community, such as the online drawing contest "Quả Báo" (Karma), inspired by a new perspective on “sins in the technological era that Diem King has yet to find a solution.”
Whether an amateur or a professional, you can also participate in the monthly workshops of Khô Mực. The workshops last three hours and are an excellent chance to practice creativity and release stress. This is also an ideal place to visit if you are an artist or simply want to learn a new art form.
Wedogood is a Risograph print and graphic design studio run by Jay Vu, Tu Le, and Ngoc Vo. Describing themselves as "weirdos with a passion for graphics," the studio operates on the principle of always "doing well."
Wedogood not only "do good" alone but also became a webobetter when it collaborated with nearly 30 young independent artists, including Duong Giap, Tat Sy, Orkaboi, etc., to produce unique printed products. Wedogood advises and supports artists on risograph printing, designing, and selling publications such as zine, posters, and postcards.
From the very beginning, Wedogood defined the model to be 'peer-to-peer': working with the artist for the artist to bring the artist community together. The spirit of not being afraid to experiment is always evident in the works — the color combinations are "strange," and the colors are very "bright," but the finished products are always a marvel to look at.
The Riso Club is a sub-branch of Wedogood, which organizes Risograph workshops for all levels, from beginner (RISO BATTLEFIELD) to advanced (RISO EXPOSURE workshop). When participating in Wedogood's workshop, in addition to knowledge, you always have gifts to bring home!
Saigon Print Shop
Saigon Print Shop is a studio in Ho Chi Minh City founded by Jack Clayton in early 2020. He is an artist specializing in woodblock prints/illustrations. His style is inspired by Japanese ukiyo-e prints and German expressionism prints.
The main product at Saigon Print Shop is woodblock prints! Saigon Print Shop is a "rhythmic" collaboration between Jack and his wife, and Jack is the implementer.
Jack's woodblock prints have bold, "bright" colors and sharp features with Vietnamese street scenes: sidewalk shops, folk games, cafes, drinking culture of Vietnamese people. Jack organizes woodblock print workshops for individuals or small groups. He was once invited by Change VN/ Wild Aid Vietnam to do a workshop to raise awareness of wildlife protection.
Liulo Arts & Crafts
Liulo Arts & Crafts is a hands-on graphic studio founded and operated by graphic artist Nguyen Thanh Vinh. Liulo is also a place to connect and sell handicraft products of local artists and businesses.
Liulo offers many unique products such as prints, illustrations, earrings, pottery, knitting bags, silk scarves, etc. Borrowing from Liulo's words to talk about the works here: "Each work of art is special because it carries the sincere and innocent spirit of the artist."
In Liu Lo, products are colorful and feminine but no less personal, such as the silk scarf "Large Cave" - honoring the "wonder" of women during menstruation, making something usually considered sensitive feel like a normal thing. Liulo also organizes relaxing art workshops: traditional silk painting, Tet flower painting, or very "trendy" workshops such as mask painting when Covid is still raging.
Simon Phan (illustrator) and Hoa Pham (content creator), the founders of OH QUAO, are a married couple who love stationery. So at OH QUAO, almost everything is available: postcards, stickers, notebooks, custom stamps, prints, board games, stories, and even shower gel products.
OH QUAO is inspired by traditional Vietnamese materials and then looks at them through a modern lens. The unique point is that OH QUAO focuses mainly on paper products; the purpose is to foster a personal connection between people and these products.
Translated by Mi Tran