After taking me through his art thesis at the University Galleries on campus, art student
and soon-to-be graduate Loc Huynh, was very gracious to meet with me on the third floor
of JCM to talk in detail about all things art. His inspiration, influences, and future plans
are all revealed and show just how, like his artwork, unique and talented this young man
Kellye Son: So how did you get interested in art? Perhaps from a young age?
Loc Huynh: Yeah, definitely from a young age. I learned how to draw before I could write. It
all started out because I was trying to copy cartoons that I saw on tv and comic books. I
guess that aesthetic just never left me.
KS: That’s cool. What attracted you to that medium?
LH: Stan Lee or like R. Crumb and a lot of comic book artists like Steve Ditko. The guys that
did Ed, Edd, n Eddy or like Courage the Cowardly Dog. My favorite artist is Peter Saul and I
had the good fortune of meeting him. He’s definitely my biggest influence but as far as
like my medium goes using plexiglass, I’ve always heard about people painting on it or
prevacating it to sign painting. When I gave it a try it just did everything I wanted it to do
that I couldn’t replicate on a wooden panel or canvas. It allowed me so much control. I like
the removal quality you see in direct painting but the final product isn’t what it initially
KS: So when you’re starting your artwork , how do you start your creative process? What
LH: Um, the news. NPR gives me material about what to work so I don’t have to try very
hard to be creative sometimes but I inject a lot of creativity when it comes to the drawings
because they’re not realistic. At the core they’re based on truth so I just take that and
pervert it to levels of absurdity.
KS: So when you’re doing these works, how do you know when a work is complete or IS it
LH: For me there’s like no other way to go about these paintings but to see them from the
very beginning to the end because they would be very apparent and very obvious if I didn’t
complete them or if I just stopped. The viewer will know exactly where I stopped and
where I stopped trying so again, I have no other option but to and at the same time it’s
nice because it’s kind of like a goal to work towards.
KS: That is cool. Can you take a second to talk about your thesis a little in detail as to what
it pertains to for people who haven’t been to the gallery to see it?
LH: You mean in terms of detail and context that’s in there? Yeah, I have paintings that I
refer to as “history paintings”. I mean, I guess they are just because they’re made about
events that are happening in the world but they merge with history paintings because of
the exaggerating- well not even really exaggerating because history paintings have always
been very exaggerated but I just take the exaggeration and create this ambiguous narrative
based on a messed up truth. My favorite author is Albert Camus so there’s like a kind of an
absurd and somewhat nihilistic quality about them in that sense. I have a bunch of
drawings on display as well, which kind of like, I guess give a weird glimpse into my
process. I guess the drawings serve as not just a blue print but in a way, there’s also a
sense of removal as well because my drawings have layers of tracing paper on top of them
to the point where it’s so hard to see where the initial sketch began. I guess both that and
the final product type of paintings are just efforts of me just trying to cover my hand in the
way, like kind of removing myself in them. I don’t like to inject my own political opinions
in them because they can get cheesy and really preachy. It’s almost like counter-
propaganda becomes propaganda in a way.
KS: How do you think that your thesis and other works that you’ve done as an
undergraduate have helped shape you as an artist?
LH: It’s definitely allowed me to find my voice and not having to pertain to painting
realistically which I won’t brag or anything, but I was actually doing alright with that and
stuff but it didn’t allow me to express. A lot of people can express what they want to say
through realism and conventional traditional oil paintings and stuff like that, which is
cool and fine but I don’t know. I could never really do that. I’ve tried and it just kind of
came out cheesy and antiquated. So, whenever I threw all that out the window and just
kind of started dabbling and using the language of illustration to what convey this weird
cynicism I have about the world, I kind of got that across better than trying to paint a self
portrait of myself being sad or something like that.
KS: When you’re doing these artworks, do you ever find yourself in some sort of artistic
rut? And if you do, how do you pull yourself out?
LH: Uh, I have ruts whenever I have a hard time trying to come up with ideas and I don’t
know, I just try to work through the ruts by just drawing, just listening to the radio, or like
looking at my Facebook feed with the news; just like drawing things based on whether it’s
like a bombing in Afghanistan or shooting somewhere in the United States. If something
is happening at the border, something happening in Somalia or Syria, Europe, etc. The
world gives me a lot of material so I have no excuse to have an artist rut. When I come
across them I just try to draw my way out of those. That’s how I overcome those.
KS: So, not everyone “makes it” in the art world. In saying that, what would you think
“making it” would look like in your world?
LH: [giggling] Well, making it for me, it’s like you know, I would not become so jaded
where I stop painting, cause I want to keep doing this til I’m like decrepit and dead.
[giggles] Success for me or like “making it” for me would be having a nice job I like, either
like at a gallery, maybe if I was older I’d be teaching. Um, you know, representation in that
sense as well, like gallery representation, even though there’s a lot of artists that make it
pretty well without sticking to like a single or certain gallery. I guess another thing would
be like, the artists that I look up to here as an undergrad, become my colleagues or like
we’re weirdly on the same talking level one day. Yeah, that’d be making it for me.
KS: Do you think that by “making it” or by having artists that are technically on the same
plane as you, on the same level, do you think that it’s important to make those
connections now to kind of help establish the foundation for the future?
LH: Totally. It’s definitely important. Artists thrive because they have a thriving artist
community. It’s why communities in big cities are so creative; whether it’s like Houston or
Austin or San Antonio or Dallas, those places are good because they have a good support
system and, I mean, I know a lot of people don’t like the city, but it’s the only place where
you can go and be an artist, as far as like being a showing artist. I guess you could just
make paintings out in the country or whatever, maybe meet up in the city or something,
but the cities are cultural hubs in a way.
KS: They have an energy.
LH: Yeah, definitely. And have justification or whatever. [giggles]
KS: Really cool. Well, thank you for your time, Loc!
LH: No problem!
[we both giggle and walk off] (1,380)