Vietnamese born artist Duy Huynh’s poetic and contemplative acrylic paintings symbolically reflect geographical and cultural displacement. Drawing inspiration from a variety of storytellers in formats that range from music and movies to ancient folklore and comic book adventures, Duy creates his own narratives of the human condition. In his paintings, 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. Images that recur, such as boats, trains, suitcases, and anything with the ability of flight relate to travel, whether physical or spiritual. His work creates a mood for the viewer to explore, and with each step of the journey a story is created, an emotion is revealed, and upon return from this journey, a sense of something gained is felt. While much of Duy’s work is deeply personal, his clever and oftentimes humorous use of symbolism and wordplay invites the viewer to create his own storyline.
Duy’s interest in art began shortly after his arrival to the United States in the early eighties. With difficulties adapting to new surroundings and language, Duy took refuge in the art of comics, cartoons, and graffiti. His first art commission came in the third grade. A fellow classmate hired Duy to draw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Payment came in the form of 2 dollars and chocolate milk for the week. More importantly, he 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.
After graduating from UNC-Charlotte with a degree in painting and illustration, Duy’s main objective was to share his work with the public, hoping to garner positive feedback. He began painting murals and showing his work in a variety of public establishments, including restaurants, coffee shops, bars and music venues. He also explored the performance aspect of painting, oftentimes collaborating with musicians and dancers to create works of art in front of an audience. Positive feedback soon came as his paintings increased in demand and several galleries around the country began to add Duy to their roster of emerging artists.