When it comes to conceptual art, it’s hard not to mention Phuc Van Dang. Growing as the primal generation of Vietnamese contemporary artists, Phuc is now based in Horsens city of Denmark under the name Phucisme. His work doesn’t only exist on papers; it also breathes on walls, glass windows, clothes and skateboards.
After his first 7 years of working with art, Phuc restricted himself back to the classic black and white, and has been playing with the duo for nearly 10 years. To him, black is the form of shadow which possesses its own power. Without shadow, there's no light, and no light means no life.
Phuc uses humans as the center point for his work, which elaborates deeper issues about culture and society. If you have the luck to watch his creations as they form, you’ll experience the stories unfold as he orchestrates each brushstroke. This is also the key to conceptual art: each artwork is a discovery, and the process is the light that guides the artist.
Three years after our first conversation, Vietcetera reconnected with Phuc and listened to his stories, this time through art.
1. What annoys you the most about your job?
Not having enough time to make my artwork. If I do not have that much time then it will not be so good, and I will be annoyed by it. Art is hard to have a deadline because it is a long process. You need to have time to delve into it.
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2. Which emotions help you create art?
I work with different concepts. So my emotions depend on what I want to convey to my art. It's a transformation from a story into a visual expression. My feelings can spark from nature, lyrics from a song, or a documentary movie.
3. Was there a specific moment you realized that you really are an artist?
I still have a hard time calling myself an artist because I work with art, design and culture. I don't really have nor want a specific title, but it is important to me that my work is a fusion between what I’m passionate about and what I want to create for people and society.
4. What is it in art that gives you goosebumps?
There is a feeling and a story that lies deep in every work. An approach to a connection between soul and work of art. I think then it will be a kind of masterpiece where I live.
5. How would you define artistic freedom?
Art is not just a product. It is also important to learn the process. Be free and be you!
6. Does your art scare you?
I work mostly in the dark side of art because I work in the black and white universe. I am not afraid to enter the darkness because then I can experience light in the dark. A balance between the two universes is very exciting to work with when you have limited your expression.
7. You only work with black & white. If they weren't a choice, what color would you work with instead?
It will probably be an earth color that has a connection with nature.
8. Best career advice you've ever heard?
It should make sense when you think about your work! And follow your passion.
9. What would your next 10 years be like?
It's my dream to run a creative school in Vietnam. I want to pass on to the next generation of Vietnamese artists the power of art and how to think outside the box to express their feelings.
10. Vietnam is witnessing more young artists following conceptual art. What are your comments on the current art scene?
It is good that the young people are working with concept art. It is important that the content and quality should look through the whole concept. Keep exploring it because that's how you learn your process through art.