-Nga, we'd love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today, both personally and as an artist.
It was in 1990s and I was a stay-at-home mom of two young boys. During those years, there was no
internet or online ordering service. Companies that sell clothing, household stuff, plants and flowers,
would usually send paper catalogs to potential customers by mail. Some of the images in the catalogs
were quite colorful and beautiful, especially flowers which caught my artistic eye. One day, the idea to
recycle the colorful paper came to me through origami. I still remember all the folds that I had learned
and made during my childhood days. When I was about eight or ten years old, I lived in Saigon,
Vietnam. My family was poor and we couldn't afford toys so my siblings and I made our own toys out
of recycled newspaper, old homework, leaves and plants. We made airplanes, boats, gliders, guns,
fans, kites, birds, fish, flowers. One idea led to another from a single fold of one object to multiple
folds, and finally an entire artwork that combines them all together. Now I can't stop folding and
-Walk us through your path of creating work that is meaningful for you?
I love the idea of the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle and my artwork reflects this great idea. I want
to introduce and show my work to the masses, especially to the younger generation. Hence, displaying
my art in a public setting is very important and it's my main goal - the more viewers the better. Each
of my recycled origami carries a simple message: that you don't need new, fancy and expensive paper
to create beautiful artwork, just look around your environment. Furthermore, due to the limited
collection of recycled paper/material, you will create a unique work of art in the world.
-Do current events, local or global, affect your work and your focus?
Recently, I have heard on the news that there is a large island of trash that floats in the Pacific ocean.
I'm frustrated and upset by that news. However, it inspired me to create two origami works which I
called “Green Warriors I & II”. They both carry a message that anyone can be an environmentalist, be
they young, old, boy, girl, woman and man regardless of which part of the world you come from by
using less and recycling more, not littering, cleaning up beaches, using solar energy, and planting more
trees in your neighborhood. If each of us do our part, the world can be a better place.