Cuong Nguyen was trained to be a traditional portraitist at the age of 10 in his native Vietnam. He finds the natural beauty in the people that surround him—from the men and women he painted to earn money on the streets of Saigon as a child, to the denizens of Silicon Valley that he often paints today. Faces inspire him—so much so that that he has been known to approach strangers to request that they model for him. He works in a variety of media, from oil and pastel to digital media and for much of the past decade, he has been active in streetpaint art festivals around the world. Cuong is also a professional illustrator and icon designer for Yahoo! Inc., where he creates digital artwork no larger than 50 square pixels.
He has won several awards for his painting, including Best in Show at the International Association of Pastel Societies’ 15th Juried Exhibition and a Gold Medal at its 16th Juried Exhibition. The artist is a member of Oil Painters of America and the International Guild of Realism and is a Distinguished Pastelist in the Pastel Society of the West Coast.
Cuong won the Pastel Journal Grand Prize Award for 2011 with the painting Spring.
During my stay in Tuscany, Italy, I was very happy to meet Kelly Borsheim and see her in action on the streets of Florence. When you come to a new town it is almost impossible to see exhibition of pastel works, but thanks to Kelly’s blog post I found about her exhibition in one of the Florence galleries and found out about her streetpainting that day. Click on the image on the left to see how Kelly and her friend Johnny are painting one of the Raffaello’s masterpieces (original painting can be found in the local Uffizi gallery). Kelly is a sculptor, pastel artist and a streetpainter who lives between Florence and central Texas, USA. Her artistic journey and attraction towards her “first stone sculpture teacher”, Michelangelo, took her to Italy and Florence where she spends as much time as she can. Kelly has a very interesting blog and a website and I invite you to explore and enjoy her work on your own.
You didn’t get news from this blog lately, primarily because I was too busy organizing the streetpaint festival in my city. Since the street painters use soft pastel I consider streetpainting a part of the pastel world although not the main stream.
This was the second edition of the festival and we have had a huge publicity. The festival took place in the heart of city on a beautiful sunny day. The special section where kids could dirty their hands proved to be a big success as well. You can find photos and a short article about the whole event on the ZagrebPastel streetpaint festival site.