Cuong Nguyen is undoubtedly a master of portraits. His lifelike faces on canvas leave viewers spellbound. What’s more, he does portraits in both oil paints and pastels with such expertise that it becomes difficult for viewers to tell them apart.
Nguyen does his pastel paintings without blending his strokes and still achieves smoothness of gradations in an incredible level of detail, which is rare in pastel paintings. In oil painting, he ensures his portraits don’t become a replica of photographs. This he does to show how the images were formed from their raw materials.
Nguyen never had an easy life. Born to poor parents in Vietnam, he faced difficulties in his formative years. However, his skill in drawing was evident since his childhood. At a young age itself, he started earning extra money for the family through street portraits. Such was the quality of his artwork that he was accepted to Saigon’s Academy of Art, while in high school.
Nguyen had to discontinue his studies at Saigon’s Academy of Art when he got an opportunity to emigrate to the US. Although he had to temporarily suspend his love of fine art to settle in a new country, he soon managed to join San Jose State University and earned a degree in Illustration/Graphic Design. He made a successful career as an icon designer with a renowned Silicon Valley Web company.
However, fine art was Nguyen’s calling and he started participating at public street painting festivals. His amazing lifelike portraits on asphalt started drawing huge crowds. Invitations to participate in festivals around the world started pouring in and he took up painting in the right earnest.
In the field of art, Nguyen was drawn to human faces, which he practiced with single-minded devotion. He honed his portrait painting to such a level that his portraits seem to come alive! Today, he’s not only a member of several famous art associations but has also figured in many art magazines.
Nguyen continues to participate in group exhibitions and organizes solo exhibitions, as well. On Instagram alone, he has over 372,000 fans.