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Ho Chi Minh City |  linh@hidden-saigon.com  |  Tel. +84 (0)908 477 079

© 2018 by Hidden Saigon

INTRODUCING OUR CULTURE MAKERS

Please meet some of our culture makers we will meet during the tours. They span across generations, practices and industries. We strive to find local Vietnamese and Viet Kieus (overseas Vietnamese) who are pushing the boundaries in art, film, music, design, fashion, photography, etc. These are the people leading the way in modern day Saigon. 

 

As our culture makers are busy creating, we will visit them based on their availabilities, but we do our best to select ones that best match your interest.

LE THANH TUNG (CRAZY MONKEY)

FOUNDER, INTERACTIVE MEDIA ARTIST

THE BOX COLLECTIVE

 

Le Thanh Tung, aka Crazy Monkey is one of the leading artists in Vietnam working with projection mapping, VJ-ing, augmented reality, holograms and interactive media. He graduated from Vietnam University of Fine Arts in Hanoi and relocated to Saigon in 2009, where he began working at international advertising agencies as a designer, working his way up to art director.

 

A chance encounter with Linh Phan had Crazy Monkey trying projections for the first time at her Everyone’s a DJ dance party. From then on, he was hooked. Crazy Monkey started with exploring YouTube videos and experimenting with different VJ-ing softwares before developing his own. At that time, the world of VJ-ing was an uncharted territory in Vietnam and before long, Crazy Monkey was the man to go to for events ranging from large scale beer-sponsored festivals to small artistic collaborations.

 

In 2016, he founded The Box Collective – a Creative Visual Studio specializing in visual experiences and VJing. Their talented team consists of visual professionals, motion graphic designers, 3D animators and more. One of their milestones was projection mapping onto Reunification Palace. 

Website

Facebook

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

 

UUDAM TRAN NGUYEN

VISUAL ARTIST

 

UuDam Tran Nguyen is a Contemporary Vietnamese Visual Artist based in Saigon. He studied in Vietnam and the USA, and graduated from UCLA with a B.A. and from the School of Visual Arts in NY with an MFA.

 

UuDam has been exhibited internationally in the 4th Singapore Biennale, Asia Society Museum, Kadish Art in San Francisco, the White Chapel Gallery, the Jewish Museum & Asia Pacific Triennial (APT8), Singapore Art Museum, and SunShower at The National Art Center Tokyo.

 

His works has been mentioned and reviewed in The New York Times, Art Forum, Singapore Today Top Pick, Bangkok Post, Los Angeles Times, Vietnam TV and Newspapers, Art Radar Journal, LA weekly, Time Out New York, etc.

 

He won the Jury Selection prize of the prestigious 18th Japan Media Arts Festival for his installation robotic app art License 2 Draw.

 

UuDam is also the co-founder of the experimental art magazine XEM.

 

Website

 

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

 

LINH RATEAU

FOUNDER

DANCENTER VIETNAM

 

Linh Rateau, the founder and director of Dancenter Vietnam, settled in Vietnam in 2001 and in May 2018, she became a member of the International Council of Dance, UNESCO. 

 

Dancenter’s mission is to offer a learning space for Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Hip Hop students to flourish through interactions and collaborations with professional dancers and choreographers. They also produce dance productions, including an annual show.

Surrounded by a talented team of 24 employees, Linh Rateau regularly collaborates with the French Institute of Ho Chi Minh City and has welcomed and collaborated with various international dance companies and artists, such as, Choream, Pokemon, Gallota, Anne Nguyen, Transitscape, etc.

 

Dancenter is also a partner for the Ho Chi Minh City International Dance Festival, the Europe meets Asia festival and the Krossing Over contemporary Art Festival.

Website

Facebook

Instagram

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

 

QUANG LAM

PHOTOGRAPHER & FOUNDER

INLEN GALLERY & XEM MAGAZINE

Quang Lam is a French Vietnamese photographer who left Vietnam after the war and relocated back to Saigon in 2012. He is a freelance multimedia director for the top international digital agencies in Vietnam. He’s also a photographer of numerous editorial pieces with some of Vietnam's top print publications, such as Elle Vietnam, Heritage Fashion, etc.

 

Besides the commercial work Quang does, he is heavily involved in the cultural scene in Saigon.  He is the founder of Inlen Photo Daziboao, an art space dedicated to supporting young photographers, providing a space for workshops and exhibitions.  He is also the co-founder of XEM magazine, a publication dedicated to providing a space for visual experimentation using photography.

 

Inlen Website

Quang Lam Website

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

 

LEO HUYNH TRINH

FASHION DESIGNER

SINHTOLINA

 

Leo Huynh Trinh was born and raised in Nha Trang. This beautiful beach city in Central Vietnam plays a major influence in her clothing brand Sinhtolina.  As a young woman, Leo began altering her own clothes to create original designs that had a sense of freedom and liberty.  As a trained interior designer, the materials are the focal point for her designs. 

 

Established in April 2014, Sinhtolina strives to provide the world with beautiful custom dresses for women who share an appreciation for summer dresses and a bohemian lifestyle.  The open-back maxi dress in signature Sinhtolina style is the perfect wear for warm climes such as Saigon. Leo’s designs are casual daily wear, breezy holiday attire as well as wedding dresses.

 

Facebook

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

 

FLORIAN SONG NGUYEN

VISUAL ARTIST

 

Florian Song Nguyen was born in 1988 in France and currently lives and works in Saigon. After running a graphic design agency in Paris for 5 years, in 2016 Florian decided to relocate to Saigon to further explore his roots and find inspiration for his art by delving deep into his family history, stories and memories.

 

Florian is a self-taught artist and develops his skills by drawing every day in his sketchbooks. Drawing is a language; it’s a way for Florian to make sense of his surroundings through the 'eye-brain-hand’ network.

 

Florian’s works are mainly figurative and they explore the themes of memory and oblivion through drawing and its confrontation with other practices. His recent works straddle the border between narration and memory.  He believes in the importance of the gesture, which led him over the past two years to collaborate with visual and performance artists, creating dance and live drawing performance pieces.

 

Florian has shown in France (A2Z art Gallery, DDessin,L’ARC Museum…), Singapore (SPRMRKT), Brussels, and Vietnam (L’espace Hanoi, A.Farm, Salon Saigon, IDECAF Saigon…).

 

He is currently working on a dance piece with Le Thi Mai An and is illustrating a book with Thierry Niang and writer Linda Lê.

 

Website

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

 

TRICIA (TRANG) NGUYEN

FOUNDER

WINTERCEARING PROJECT

 

When Tricia (Trang) Nguyen was born in 1991, she was destined to enter into the creative field. Her father is a renowned Vietnamese artist Nguyen Thanh Binh and her mother is an architectural engineer. At the age of 9, Tricia attended boarding school in the UK and after 1 year in university she relocated back to her hometown, Saigon.  As a trained ballet dancer, upon returning she threw herself back into the world of art and dance. Works included the “Hamlet Project” – an international collaborative contemporary dance production aiming to strengthen social and cultural ties between the United States and Vietnam.

 

Tricia is the founder of the Wintercearig Project. Currently in its 2nd season, the project aims to raise awareness of mental health issues in Vietnam through contemporary art and dance. The festival includes performances, installations, collaborations between artists and dancers and workshops for the community using the practice of art and dance therapy to create safe spaces for people.

Wintercearig Project Facebook

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

 

DANH THANH LONG (LONG LONG LONG)

INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER

SAIGON ARTBOOK & INPAGES

 

Saigon born Danh Thanh Long is an independent publisher and co-founder of Saigon Artbook, an independently published book that features Saigon-based artists. Founded in 2013, its dual mission is to provide motivation and exposure for artists based in Saigon, whilst encouraging new audiences to engage with contemporary art.

 

In 2016, Long along with 2 other partners, co-founded and opened InPages an independent bookstore focusing on independent and small print publications. 

 

Continually expanding his work and collaborations, Long’s newest project is Kho Muc Studio which is the first Risograph print studio in Saigon. They provide riso-printing service and run a petite retail shop for riso prints and paper goods.

​Saigon Artbook

InPages

Kho Muc Studio

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

 

NGUYEN THANH BINH

VISUAL ARTIST

Nguyen Thanh Binh is a renowned artist and a key figure in the contemporary art scene in Vietnam. Binh was born in Hanoi in 1954, graduated from the Hanoi College of Fine Art before moving down to Saigon to study oil painting at the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Art University.

 

He is best known for his nudes and simplified depictions of ballerina dancers, musicians and schoolgirls in white ao dai (traditional Vietnamese dress) upon a flat backdrop of colour. He also takes inspiration from classical music and his own daughter who is a ballerina.

 

Binh has showed all over the world including Hong Kong, Toyko, Dubai, Miami, New York, London and Paris.

Vietnam Art Profile of Nguyen Thanh Binh

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

 

DAN BI MONG (HIBIYA LINE)

CLUB OWNER & DJ

THE OBSERVATORY

 

Dan Bi Mong (Hibiya Line) is a Swiss-Vietnamese DJ, music producer, promoter and owner of one of the top underground clubs in Saigon, The Observatory.

 

In 2012, after years of travelling back and forth between Saigon and Europe, Dan decided to leave his 9-5 job as a social worker and live his dream - to open a nightclub. The dream came true with the opening of the Observatory that has since made its name as the place to be seen and heard at. It has hosted top international DJs including the Bolier Room DJs, Tricky Disco, Trus Me and others. They’ve also collaborated with promoters and music festivals throughout Asia.

 

When Dan isn't busy running the club, he is frequently travelling the world DJ-ing at some of the top nightclubs and festivals in Europe and Asia. His sets explore house, disco and techno, but people can always expect to hear the unexpected.

The Observatory Facebook

 

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

 

JOHN HUY TRAN (JHT)

ARTIST DIRECTOR, UDG VIETNAM

 

A Vietnamese Canadian, John Huy Tran (JHT), studied at National Dance Canada and Randolph Academy where he focused on jazz, ballet, contemporary, hip-hop and musical theatre. 

In 2006, John relocated to Vietnam and has since become a pioneer in the Vietnamese dance industry, being one out of two teachers to introduce jazz dance to Vietnamese artists.  He’s a TV Judge for the Vietnamese versions of “So You Think You Can Dance”, “Dancing with the Stars” and “Little Giants”.

JHT is also the Director and Co-founder of URBAN DANCE GROUP (UDG). They create and perform shows for both corporate and artistic events.

JHT’s current teachings involve exploration of all kinds of styles to discover the limitless possibilities of combining different movements to create something new to put out into existence.  

UDG Facebook

John Huy Tran Facebook

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

 

NGUYEN KIM TO

VISUAL ARTIST

Saigon born Nguyen Kim To has done it all to survive and bring up her family of artists. She met her husband -   himself a major player in the 1990s Saigon art scene - in art school when they were both 12 years old.

 

Like mother back in the day, her daughter Lan has made a name for herself as an artist in Saigon. Her other daughter relocated to Canada to study and work in graphic design.

 

Kim To took a break from her practice during wartime when she worked at an advertising company making hand-drawn product packaging. When the war ended, she landed a job at the Ministry of Culture making large-scale propaganda posters peppering the streets of the city.

 

​Now that her daughters have grown up, she has free time to paint once again.

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

 

NGUYEN PHAM QUANH MINH

FOUNDER, HEADLESS

Saigon born and bred, Pham Nguyen Quang Minh does it all. He’s the founder of the streetwear brand Headless, he’s the frontman in the hardcore band Razor Leaf and the CEO of the media production house, Zeroz.

 

Growing up, Quang Minh was interested in graphic design, Manga and gaming characters. He loved wearing black and took inspiration in the warrior style clothes the gaming and manga characters wore. Not being able to find the clothes that he wanted to wear in the marketplace, he began sketching his own designs, which he then brought to a tailor to create.

 

His friends and friends of friends took notice of his clothes and began asking where he got it from. Learning that it was his own designs, they started putting in custom order requests for themselves. Seeing that there was plenty of interest, Quang Minh, started the label Headless. The concept was pretty simple: black, white and grey non-gendered clothes that went against the grain of the mainstream. Clothes that represented his own style.

 

Using his fashion designer wife’s retail space, he put the Headless collection in the corner and began selling his clothes there.  A year later, with a big following in hand, it was time for him to move into his own space.  With the larger space, Headless has been able to expand their collection to include bags, accessories and transformative clothes.

 

When asked what is the meaning behind the name, Quang Minh said, “If you are headless you are truly free to not think and just do what you want to do.” Headless is a true representation of Quang Minh, a man who pushes the boundaries of streetwear in Saigon.

 

Website

Facebook

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

 
 

PHAM TUAN NGOC

FOUNDER, NOIRFOTO DARKROOM STUDIO AND GALLERY

Hanoian, Pham Tuan Ngoc is the founder of Noirfoto Darkroom Studio and Gallery, a space dedicated to black and white analogue and experimental photography.  In his 20s, Ngoc moved to Sweden for his Masters degree in business. It was during his time there that he started to fall in love with film photography, training and doing an internship with a local professional photographer.

 

Upon completion of his degree, with a love for Paris, Ngoc decided relocate there. He spent hours wandering the city taking photos, his camera never leaving his side, even when went on deliveries throughout the city as a delivery driver for a sushi restaurant. The job allowed him to explore the city and practice his craft.

 

After a few years in Paris, Vietnam was calling him back.  Ngoc returned and started working as a commercial photographer, with some of the top magazines in the country such as Elle and The Robb Report.

 

Then in 2017, Ngoc decided to take a break from commercial photography and opened his own darkroom and studio space above a friend’s café. In 2018, with the opportunity to expand, Ngoc relocated to a larger space that now includes a studio, gallery, and full darkroom. His focus is on expanding the interest in film photography and developing through workshops for adults and children.

 

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

 

DAOS

GRAFFITI & TATTOO ARTIST

Saigonese graffiti artist, Daos is one of the pioneers of the Saigon graffiti art scene.  In 2006, along with 3 of his high school friends, they formed the New Day crew, one of the few collectives in town at that time. For a while the scene started to grow and the New Day crew was leading the charge.  Graffiti art was new to Saigon and the restrictions to public art and murals proved difficult for the crews. 

By 2009 most of the crews had disbanded. Lack of events, money or support to increase the scene led to the formation of The Saigon Projects in 2010. Through the support of established art collectives, The Propeller Group and San Art Collective, friends such as Nguyen Kim To Lan, Stuart Palmer and Sophie Hughes, The Saigon Projects ran events throughout town. The goal: to increase the awareness, support and understanding of graffiti and street art culture.
    
Then in 2012, seeing that there was a need in the city for high end spray-paint, Daos along with his friend opened NC store.  But in 2014 that came to an end for him when he was called up to 
military service. 

Upon his return, 2 years later, Daos started on a new venture as a tattoo artist.  Knowing very little, he started working at a friend’s tattoo shop. He traded his artistic knowledge and trained his boss on art techniques while his boss trained Daos on the art of tattooing.  Through this medium, Daos is now able to showcase his unique style, train other tattoo artists on art techniques and continue to pursue his passion for art. 

Instagram 1 

Instagram 2

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

 

LE PHI LONG

VISUAL ARTIST

Ho Chi Minh based visual artist Le Phi Long has made a highly-regarded reputation for himself as a site-specific-artist, creating installation pieces throughout Vietnam, from rural to urban spaces. From industrial complexes to natural environments. His practice also includes painting, photography and conceptual objects. He explores the historical and geographical study of human origins and the intervention in its cultural shift, examining the communities effect on a generation.
 

In 2012, he graduated from the Hue Fine Arts University with a degree in interior design. Upon graduation, he relocated to Hanoi and became a member and key organiser of the eName Art Center until it folded in 2013. Then opportunity arose when he was accepted into the prestigious San Art Laboratory Residency program in 2013. Then in 2015, he was offered another residency, this time at the Bamboo Curtain Studio in Taiwan.  Phi Long participated in many other programs in Vietnam including the VCCA Vincom Center for Contemporary Art and Heritage Space as well as internationally including Korat, Thailand, and Asian Highway in Korea.  

 

It is through these programs and the mentorship that saw Phi Long’s work elevate. His solo show, “The Prolonged Interventions” at The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, explores the mass waste found in urban and rural spaces. The show introduced him further to the Vietnam Contemporary art world and established Phi Long as someone to look out for.

 

In 2017, he established MOIland in Da Lat, an arts organisation which served as an art space connecting and supporting the local artists in Da Lat, through exhibitions, seminars, lectures, artist talks.

 

In 2019, after being based and practicing in Da Lat for a number of years, Phi Long decided to return to Saigon to setup his studio to work on and focus on his other practices.  He now splits his time between the two places

Website

Saigon Street Stories, Culture Makers Tour

hidden saigon creatives practicing elsewhere

We are sad to see our culture makers leave Saigon, but are still excited to keep up with their work.

 

SANDRINE LLOUQUET

VISUAL ARTIST

DIRECTOR OF SALON SAIGON

UPDATE: Sandrine is currently living and practicing her art in Portugal.

Sandrine Llouquet is a French-Vietnamese visual artist and director at Salon Saigon, a private museum dedicated to Vietnamese culture and contemporary arts. Since relocating to Saigon 12 years ago, Caodaism (a southern Vietnamese monotheistic religion that incorporates teachings from Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Christianity) has been one of many inspirations for Sandrine. This principle is applied in her work, where she creates her own universe of religious gestures, imageries, rituals and movements.

 

Sandrine has shown at numerous international shows as a solo artist and at group exhibitions: ART HK (Hong Kong), Singapore Biennale, Shenzhen Biennale, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Kenpoku Art (Japan), andVCCA (Hanoi).

 

Besides her artistic career, she also published magazines and catalogues and organizes cultural events as part of the Wonderful District Collective. She also co-founded the alternative art space Atelier Wonderful in 2005, Mogas Station (a Vietnam-based artists’ collective) in 2006 and Saigon Creative (monthly conferences in Saigon) in 2010.

Website

Salon Saigon Website

NGOC NAU

NEW MEDIA ARTIST

UPDATE: Ngoc is now based in Hanoi and working a new project based on her hometown, Ha Nam. 

 

Ngoc Nau graduated from Vietnam University of Fine Arts in Hanoi with a major in art history and criticism. Ngoc comes from a new generation of young artists that uses new media in their work. Taking from modern technologies such as digital print, Kinect gaming sensors and stage lighting, she incorporates those techniques into holograms, 3D videos and photographic light boxes, using the Depthkit software to create immersive, interactive new media project and pieces. 

 

She has showcased her work in Japan, Hong Kong, Northern Ireland, Korea, Taiwan, UK, Canada, Singapore and Vietnam. 

 

On top of her video and performance work, Ngoc was the manager of San Art’s (one of the leading contemporary art spaces in Vietnam) artist residency program (2013-2016) and was the curatorial assistant for Asia In/Visible Station program for Zero station from 2016-2017 in Saigon

Website

Blog

BAO VUONG

VISUAL ARTIST

UPDATE:  Bao is currently living and creating in Paris, France. 

Bao Vuong was born in Vietnam just after the war. He was only one year old when his parents decided to leave Vietnam by sea. After spending a year in a refugee camp in Malaysia, his family eventually relocated to France.

 

Bao graduated from the Fine Art School of Toulon and then from the Art School of Avignon.  After living in France for 30 years, Bao decided to relocate to Saigon to explore his roots and practice his art.

 

With each subject and theme that he approaches, Bao appropriates and mixes several mediums. He uses cultural and religious symbols of Vietnam and plays with light and transparency through different materials to make a visible distance of remembrance.

 

In his recent works, Bao explores the tragic images of migrants who cross the Mediterranean Sea, which Bao finds a resonance with in his own story.

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Website