DALLAS, TX – Dallas-based non-profit ATG Against The Grain Production’s upcoming annual charity event Fashion for a Passion has become known not only for the exciting runway show, but also as an event where guests can enjoy and even bid to own emerging Asian American art. This year’s Exhibiting Artists are an eclectic group that include graphic artist Ha Mai aka “Fur Face Boy,” 17 year-old fashion photographer Ann He, recent SMU MFA Meadows graduate Anh-Thuy Nguyen, Tam Nguyen (brother of designer Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh), ATG Artistic Scholarship Winner Thoa Nguyen and Artistic Scholarship Finalist Melissa Woodbridge. Each artist will exhibit a piece as well as donate a piece of their original work in the silent auction. This exhibition, along with musical performances and a runway show, takes place at the Dallas Contemporary at the Dallas Design District from 6:30 PM – 10:00 PM on Saturday, October 13th.
While the name of the event connotes the focus on fashion, the addition of art has become just as much a part of the night’s experience to celebrate Asian American talent. This year, President/Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee tasked and worked with Marketing/PR Director Nikki Duong Koenig (who works professionally as the Creative Director of Envision Interactive and is the founder of Cykochik Custom Handbags) with finding a diverse slate of artists who had a unique point of view, strong and thought-provoking work and who represented the spirit of the organization’s mantra of ‘going against the grain.’ Said Koenig, “I’m truly inspired by this amazing group of young visual artists for their talent, passion and generosity to pay it forward.”
Ha Mai (also known as “Fur Face Boy“) was a kid who loved cartoons, comics, toys, video games, quirkiness, art and style, which led to constantly doodling and drawing whenever and wherever. Like many other artists from Asian families, Mai strived to prove to his parents that he could make his career as an artist and to make them proud. Said Mai, “I’m very excited to be a part of an event that recognizes and celebrates Asian-American artists. I’m hoping that my art / design will remind everyone that I’m still very proud of my Vietnamese roots, values and heritage. Growing up in America with American peers and culture can tend to make you forget about your background, but it can also fuse together to create a bigger meaning to art, life and personality. I hope everyone sees that my art represents that I am not just a single-sided Asian or a single-side American, but Asian American.”
From photography to video to performance and sound art, Anh-Thuy Nguyen is a multi-media artist who envelops her work to convey an assortment of feelings and desires. She is a recent MFA graduate of the SMU Meadows School of the Arts. Said Nguyen, “Petite Houses Series is an investigation of miniature houses that I have been working on since 2010. These houses represent one’s dream home, a place full of joy, laughing and love, yet it is just a dream.”
Tam Nguyen comes from a talented family. He is the younger brother of FFAP veteran designer Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh. Said Nguyen, “I’m totally grateful for this opportunity to be a part of ATG. Most of all I’m looking forward to checking out all the creative talents. Being around designers and artists at these events can be very energizing and inspiring, especially to fellow creatives like myself. At the moment, I am in love traditional media. I simply paint and draw portraits obsessively.” He will exhibit a stunning portrait piece of his mother, who undoubtedly must be proud her talented son and daughter.
This year, several of ATG’s Artistic Scholarship applicants were visual artists, and two were selected to exhibit pieces as a part of the organization’s mission to support the work of young talent. Finalist Melissa Woodbridge is a sophomore at the University of Georgia, and Scholarship Winner Thoa Nguyen is a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin. Both are pleased with the chance to share their work and attend and their first Fashion for a Passion in person. Woodbridge said, “I am incredibly excited to be apart of this amazing event that involves so many passionate, talented people, and I hope that I will be able to contribute with my own love for art and community.”
Added Nguyen, “It is an honor to be a part of the sea of talented artists featured at the Fashion for a Passion event. Making art has always been such a personal experience for me, so I am grateful for the recognition and the opportunity to share my point of view with other inspirational artists.”
Already starting out at a young age, Ann He of Dallas, TX, calls herself a “full-time nerd” and “a proud Trekkie,” while pursuing being a part-time fashion photographer. She is a senior at Highland Park High School, and remarkably juggles her schedule through cross country, academic decathlon and being a photo student. She has already been featured in several publications, such as Photographer’s Companion (China), Vogue Girl Korea (July 2011) and Elle Girl Korea (January 2011).