Uyen was born in Nha Trang City, Vietnam. She grew up in a tailoring/design school, within walking distance to the beach. Her creativity seed was planted by her parents at a young age. With fabric remnants, her father meticulously crafted unique patchwork garments for her wardrobe. She sported them with pride knowing that every piece was one of a kind and made only for her. Uyen’s love for colors, contrast, and asymmetry stemmed from her extraordinary childhood. Her appreciation for one of a kind art was what drew her to marble painting. Her work is inspired by vivid memories of sandy beaches, deep blue ocean, golden rice fields, high cliffs, waterfalls and natural lakes hidden in tropical forests. Most important were memories of her hardworking parents and endless summers roaming in nature with her brothers. This was where Uyen’s Color Tales began. It was her way of expressing her deepest thoughts and bringing her fondest memories to life.
Nha Trang City, Vietnam
Cedar Hills, Texas
What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain”?
To stay true to myself even if that means to stick out differently. To measure my success not by others’
standards, but by my own levels of satisfaction.
What made you decide to pursue a career in this industry?
Serendipity! Since college, painting has always been a therapy to help me unwind. For this reason, I never shared my paintings with anyone. Last spring, I decided to experiment with a different technique using a colorful palette and was pleasantly surprised with the results. Sharing a picture with a close friend, led to a request to make a few paintings for her new office. With much support and encouragement from family and friends, this therapeutic pastime has quickly turned into very productive work hours. These days, with a more steady schedule, painting still doesn’t feel like a job. If work means an opportunity to de-stress with flexible hours, I will keep following this path with a passion.
What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American in this field?
The challenge is more of an internal battle between Western (Embrace what you love!) and Eastern (Show only your good side!) influences. One pushes me to be free and brave in expressing myself. The other constantly questions the results. Is it good enough? Will it hold any value? To find balance, I apply these opposite tendencies to where they perform best – liberation of my creativity and quality control of my work.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment and why?
Showing my children it’s never too late for a new start, because you never know what awaits you. At age 43, instead of trying to go back to an “office” job, I decided to invest serious efforts in embracing my passion. This leap of faith resulted in the best job I could ever find.
What’s up next?
Full-time mom as always, creating more colorful tales, finding a good studio space, working on a cookbook with my mom, and one day hosting an intimate exhibit with my artist friends.
Quote to live by:
“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”
Sign (Eastern Animal Sign & Western Zodiac):
Raising happy kids, letting them make and correct their own mistakes.
Any type of noodle soups.
Can’t live without:
-Coffee and Dewalt power drills.
I Go Against The Grain #beCAUSE:
I am a strong believer in Karma.