Artist: Chinh Le
Medium: Silk Painting
One weekend in Bodega Bay, CA, in 1995, a good friend showed me the technique of silk painting. Like bright kites flying across the foggy coastal sky, the gutta lines swirled and the bright colored inks flowed to my delight, bringing out joy to the fine, but otherwise lifeless, white silk.
Painting on silk provides me with moments when I reflect on the world around me, a world that opens like a coloring book. While working in my native country, Viêt Nam, I sketched scenes of people in their daily life as they work the hard earth for a grain of rice, ride the waves of unruly seas, or walk the city streets like tumbling leaves blown by a harsh winter wind. Many hang on the margins of life, but they keep their balance with resilience, togetherness and grace. And me, I fill in the pages of their stories with bright colors as to shade away the darkness of their poverty and endless struggle to survive.
The lighter side of my world is right here, in the Pacific Northwest. This corner of the earth is truly a paradise for artists. Here again, I paint people in their daily life as they work, play, or simply exist. I squiggle the gutta resist over my white silk like twisted lines of fate, then fill in the colors of life, as each painting takes on its own short tale of fantasy, joy or melancholy.
My subjects are faceless, for their stories are universal. The people of Viêt Nam will always provide me with my deepest inspiration. The larger world of my travels, readings, and music takes me to images, stories, and songs of our common humanity, all strung together along my own silk road.
I would like to thank my wife Jeri, whose love of bright colors helps me bring out the essence of life in my work, and all our friends who support us in our joy of painting.
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