Ta Quynh Mai (Mai Ta) is a young artist working and living in Saigon. Most of her paintings are in muted color palettes and depict woman figures.
To Mai Ta, painting is truly a personal process of storytelling, expressing the inner world and living experience of an artist. Mai Ta said she is in love with delicate, small paintings on paper that depict her emotional world at different stages of her life.
She doesn’t have a particular technique to her paintings, but rather lets the inspirations appear when they want to and live her life in between.
1. Which color best describes your city?
Blue. Saigon has the prettiest blue skies.
2. What are your go-to types of paint and surfaces?
Gouache and watercolor paper.
3. What do you think is the stand out feature of a female subject?
Women and women's bodies evoke a lot of lust, rage, and even envy within us. Feminine energy also encompasses artistry and emotions, which is essentially what art is.
That's why so many artworks depict female subjects. They represent our ideals of beauty, sentimentality and sexuality. They can invite controversy and be perfect symbols of sorrow and pain at the same time. So that makes it hard to pinpoint what the standout feature is since everyone has their own motivations and perceptions
4. Which do you think is the most personal step of the painting process?
It's all pretty personal. All of my works have my own life experiences woven into them.
5. What are the top 3 artists you would listen to when working?
Radiohead, Frank Ocean, and the ambient playlist on Spotify.
6. Which emotion do you usually go through when painting?
I think I'm the most meditative when I'm painting. Nothing's going on except the pure technicality of applying paint on the right spot.
7. What would you have if you got a midnight munchie?
I don’t eat at midnight anymore. It makes me feel horrible the next morning.
8. One artwork you are the proudest of. Why?
None. My artworks are representations of my inner world and the things that I've been through, so I don't see them as accomplishments to be proud of. Sometimes finishing a piece is an emotional release for me. It's sentimental and intangible. I'm happy to be able to cope with life this way but I'm not necessarily proud of it.
9. What are your desert island artworks to look at?
Any paintings by Clyfford Still.
10. Which emotion can you capture the best?
I don't know. But, I think I always capture the process of transformation. So whichever emotions are attached to that.