I was born in Saigon, Vietnam. Being very shy, I spent much of my childhood hiding away upstairs painting, instead of playing with other children. My first brush with success was a Best of Show prize at the 1974 children's exhibition in Saigon sponsored by UNICEF. In 1975 Saigon fell and in the resulting confusion I was separated from my parents. I ended up in a refuge camp near Hong Kong for a year prior to immigrating to the United States as an orphan. After one very snowy and cold winter in Pennsylvania, I went to Los Angeles to stay with some relatives.

During my high school years, I earned extra money doing fashion modeling work in the garment district and upon graduation started on the pre-med program in college. During this time I fell in love with art again and changed my major to art. While in college I had an acting stint in Hollywood on the side (I got a part in Oliver Stone's 'Heaven and Earth' and followed with a lead role in Elizabeth Hong Yang's 'Touch Within' in China).

To read more about Thu's artwork click - Revisiting A Place Once called Home (The Sapa Series) by Thu Nguyen

After getting my art degree, I have since settled down to pursue my art career in Los Angeles,  later Seattle and finally Hawaii with the big excitement being adopting my first daughter from China and my second daughter from Vietnam.

Artist Statement - Sapa Vietnam Series 

This body of work inspired by my trips back to Vietnam. I fell in love with this particular location because of its beautiful rice terraces and the Hmong people. Sapa is located in a very mountainous region of North Vietnam which gives it breath taking scenery and a harsh climate, it sometimes snows there.

My mother was born and raised on a farm in this area. Like most people in the area, she grew up very poor and never attended school or learned to read. Everyone (including children) were expected to work on the farm to support the family . In 1954, when Vietnam split in half, my mother left her family behind at age 16 and traveled south to Saigon. She did not see her family again until Vietnam became united after the war in 1975.