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Meeting Bui Van Hoan

This is the painting that got me into art. My first major art purchase. A fabulous bright yellow oil on canvas of a considerable size that has already seen 3 homes of mine. In the hipster neighborhood of Tiong Bahru, in Singapore, there is a quaint little art gallery called Art Blue studio. That's where I met Hoan's work, and where I also met Phuong, my mentor.

Bui Van Hoan yellow painting Mary Wysocki Paragon Art Collective

Art speaks to you, and this painting spoke to me in a way I had not felt before. It's hard to explain it with words because that connection belongs in the world of the subconscious. It goes from the eyes to the heart without really stopping at the brain. This is the piece that drove me to dedicate myself to art professionally and thanks to Phuong's guidance and encouragement I'm here today.

In reality, my love affair with art started a bit earlier in the Singapore Affordable Art Fair, circa 2015. It started to brew slowly like many other things I found in my new life overseas. Being an expat living in Asia opens up your mind and widens your horizons. I discovered yoga, ate foods I have not dared to eat before, traveled grand, and traveled simply. I met people from places I only vaguely knew, and that became my family. And I discovered a newfound love of art that just filled my heart. One very simple but very powerful neon installation at the Affordable Art Fair said "Art Happy". That's it. Powerful, simple, like neon. It doesn't have to be always complicated. Art makes people happy.

Affordable Art Festival in Singapore

A few weeks after discovering the yellow painting I found out that Bui Van Hoan is from Hanoi, so I decided to go there to see his other work, to be sure that was the right piece for us. The day we were leaving, Phuong called to tell me he was going to be in Singapore for the weekend! What a coincidence. So we rushed back on Sunday and looked at all the work they had out on display and sure enough; we bought the first one we laid eyes on.

PS: He was as zen in real life as his paintings and with great patience and kindness, he painted with my young sons. Was an incredible moment for our family.

Mary Wysocki from Paragon Art Collective and painter Bui Van Hoan


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