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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides




Choosing to be An Artist





by Nguyen Dinh Dang

It is always difficult for me to give a short answer on why I became both physicistand painter. Hence I will give below a long answer.

School Years

I was born in Hanoi (Vietnam) in 1958. My father was a high-school teacher of mathematics and my mother was a pediatrician. My parents were both
graduated from universities in Paris. They returned to Vietnam in 1954, just after the end of the war with France.
I started to draw very young, at around five years old. My parents still keep my first drawings. There had been no artist so far in my family or among my relatives. However I remember that my father drew very well, just for fun. He was a school teacher. Therefore his favorite drawing media was a piece of chalk and a large blackboard, which was always on the wall in one of rooms in our house in Hanoi. He drew Hercules fighting with the lion Neme, and other classical themes. My father was my first art teacher. He was also my first teacher in maths, French and English. But the most important thing, probably, was that he gave me the way to look into the life of an artist. I was sent to drawing classes, art clubs, etc. I was told that I was gifted in drawing and I believed in my artistic talent.
My parents and friends of my family recalled that they used to see me standing in front of the blackboard and drawing with chalk for hours...
The US started to bomb North Vietnam. I lived for five years in evacuation in the countryside, far away from Hanoi, with my father, elder brother and sister. My mother had to go with her hospital to a mountainous area. During all these years we met with my mother only from time to time. We were very poor at that time. Even white paper for students was in shortage. I used for my drawings a lot of paper, which luckily my father could get from his school. My dream was to have a good 6B drawing pencil. However, we had a pile of old books, which my father took along from Hanoi and a gramophone, which could play a lot of records of French songs and classical music. I read a number of books during that time, including 13 volumes of the "Three Kingdoms", which I read from cover to cover twice, and four thick volumes of "Les Miserables" translated into Vietnamese.
When the Americans stopped bombarding North Vietnam in 1969, we returned to Hanoi. I was 11 years old. My home town was dark during the nights because of a lack of electricity. The Central Railway Station, about 500 meters from my house, was completely destroyed later on in 1972 when the Americans resumed bombing, but my house was intact except for some broken window glass. Now, when everything was over, I thank God that all the members of my family and my relatives remained unharmed during the war.
Only once, in 1972, some jet aircrafts suddenly appeared and dropped bombs on a small town at a distance of about 400 meters from where I was. This was the only time I saw the death approaching so close to me. I was about to stop by in a small restaurant in this town, with my mother and sister, onthe way to visit my father in evacuation. But my mother decided to postpone the lunch until we would meet my father. About five minutes after we left this place the US F4 jet crafts arrived. This town disappeared after the bombing.
My first painting in oil color was aportrait of an European lady, which I painted on a piece of rough materialcut from bag for keeping rice in around 1970. It darkened quickly afterward because I did not know how to prime the support. Also, the white paint was in deficit so I replaced it with yellow.
After finishing this painting I showed it to an artist, a friend of my family, who laughed and said:
"Oh! A tuberculosisdame!"
Oil colors were extremely expensive. I bought my first set of oil color (a box with 12 tubes made in China) with 10 Vietnamese dongs, which my mother gave me. My father's monthly salary was 70 dongs at that time. I also studied music, playing piano and cello under the guidance of music teachers. Well, I never became a musicia nor composer, but music remains the source for my relaxation. I do my paintings listening to some classical music. I also practice playing the piano everyday.

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1958: Born in Hanoi, Vietnam.
1982: MSc (Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia)
1985: Ph.D. in nuclear theory (Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia)
1990: Doctor of Physics and Mathematics Sciences (Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia). Self-taught painter from
1987: Member of Fine Arts Association of Vietnam. from
1990: Member of Fine Arts Association of Hanoi.
1997 - 1999: Member of the International Association of Arts. from
2005: Member of the Individual Artists' Association (Shutai Bijutsu Kyo Kai) (Japan)















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