Ever since we first discovered the Lark & Key Gallery located in Charlotte’s Southend, I have been inspired by the paintings by artist and co-owner of the gallery, Duy Huynh (pronounced Yee Wun.) So, I’m very excited to share this interview with Duy today.
Duy Huynh’s recent artwork celebrates the wandering/wondering mind and the continuous search for new paths of perception. Merging the language of symbols, metaphors, and puns, the goal is to create visual narratives that resonate on multiple levels otherwise difficult to verbally articulate.
During the creative process, one’s thoughts may meander aimlessly from profound existential questions to the psychological clutter everyday life. Other processing challenges may include paralysis from over analysis, cognitive dissonance, and the malleability of memories. Huynh is fascinated by the unpredictable flow of these thought patterns, within himself as well as others telling their stories in different mediums such as music, literature, athletics, and the culinary arts. For Huynh the goal isn’t focused on answering any of life’s questions, but to rejoice in the quest itself. Ultimately he hopes “to create works that illicit a sense of continuity, connectivity, or some form of fortuitous confluence.” It has been twenty years since Huynh participated in his first public gallery exhibit. Though “Confluence” is not meant to serve as a retrospective exhibit, Huynh’s new work ties together many of his influences through the years.
When did you first become interesting in being an artist?
Shortly after coming to America, around 6 or 7 years old in the early 1980s. Of course I didn’t think in terms of being an artist, I just enjoyed drawing and creating. I still feel the same today.
Is there a particular artist or artists that have inspired you?
Too many to name, but they range from comic book illustrators, graphic designers to renaissance and Victorian painters.
In the past you’ve mentioned being inspired by music, movies and the world around you. For this particular exhibition what would you say is your main source of inspiration?
Both are constant sources of inspiration, but not necessarily directly. I just enjoy different forms of storytelling. Inspiration is all around and easy to find for me. Coincidentally, it usually finds you when you’re not looking.
When you paint to you prefer silence, or listening to music?
I usually have music to begin with. Lately I’ve been listening to Beach House, Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, and a variety of instrumental tracks. Later in the work day, the TV or a podcast may be in the background.
Do you have a particular time of day that you like to paint?
I enjoy the early morning with a couple cups of coffee.
What was the reason for choosing ‘Confluence’ as the theme of the exhibition?
The word is defined as the place where two bodies of water meet and flow together. I thought it was a beautiful metaphor for what I’m trying to do with my work.
Out of all the pieces that you created for the exhibition do you have a particular piece that you enjoyed working on the most?
I enjoyed working on “Foundation Course”. It’s a little different for me, thus presenting a variety of challenges. Each painting is kind of like a journey, and I usually have an idea of where I want to go with it. This one however steered me in a variety of unplanned directions. At times frustrating, but the destination turned out to be very cathartic.
What is your favorite part about the opening night of a new exhibition?
Honestly, that the work is done. I do enjoy seeing people’s reactions to the work.
Is there a particular emotion that you hope that viewer will experience while looking at your pieces?
A sense of wonder would be ideal. However a person feels about my work, I hope that they would ask themselves how they feel, rather than asking what I’m trying to convey.
You collaborated with potter Julie Covington on pottery pieces for this exhibition. What was your favorite part of the process?
The unpredictable nature of the process. Not knowing exactly how it was going to turn out.
You co-own the Lark & Key Gallery along with your wife Sandy, what do you enjoy most about owning an art gallery?
Working for something you really believe in and care for.