Artist Name: Sébastien (Tchou) Vang
What do you consider yourself? Artist, illustrator, painter, designer, other?
I am all this at the same time, I have the impression that the drawing accompanied me during all my life.
– I am an artist because I like to create what I want and for the moment I can do what I imagine.
– I am illustrator because I can adapt the style that require a customer.
– Painter because during a long part of my life I was painter decorator and I master many techniques to be taught for many years in decorative painting and art painting.
– Designer because I was also a designer in technical drawing in architecture to make 3D.
– I’m also a graphic designer because I’m currently a graphic designer for printing and other media and I manage my company business.
– I am also a sculptor and I like working on volume.
– I am also an art teacher and I teach in France, computer graphics for video games to French students after high school in Avignon (France).
What kinds of projects you have done in the past?
– I worked a lot in 2D and 3D illustration for advertising, character creation for video game with a team.
My most impressive jobs are:
– A decorative painting all fake wood on a plane
– A sculpture 140 inches high
– Hmong themed paintings so that all the Hmong in the world can know my work
Clearly if I could align all my works side by side from the beginning I think I did widely 40 inches X 20 miles away.
Could you talk about how you got into art or doing what you do today? What’s your story? What made you want to pursue this path? Were there any challenges you had along the way?
I always like drawing but I think I love more than another normal person. Since I arrived in France in 1979 from the camps of Thailand, I could not read or write, the drawing was my means of expression, very useful to make me understand by the French at the time.
I continued to practice drawing alone for pleasure, then at 14 I took drawing lessons from a painter paid by the (Red Cross) CROIX ROUGE because my parents were poor. When I was 17, I passed an entrance examination to join a school in graphic design and advertising at the university. After my studies I did internships in companies and professional trainings.
I had the chance to meet a great master (French artist) who wanted to train me for 8 years as well.
It was beautiful because he watched over my evolution and he brought me what I did not master, send me to train elsewhere if necessary, he had no son and saw in me someone who could succeed him (Mr. Sacha Redard), he is no longer of this world but I have preserved his teachings.
Currently I am Freelance as a graphic designer and painter and I am also a teacher of drawing and computer graphics.
What made me want to pursue this path? I think that art is not explicable, just like music, we like and we want to do that because a real artist does things with envy without thinking of making money, we do with love and challenge. Do beautiful things and mastering the techniques are for me my only wealth.
Were there any challenges I had along the way? Yes a lot, at first my family and my relatives don’t believe in me, and here in France I met the problem of racial jealousy too, that’s why I’m trying to turn to the Hmong right now.
By the way, against the work, I have never encountered any technical problem, I understand quickly enough and I always find the solution quickly.
Did you attended art school or majored/minored in Art or Design in college? If so, what were your experiences with it and did you think it helped you become a better artist? If you did not attended college or attended but did not majored in anything art-related, what helped pushed you to pursue art or improve your craft?
Yes, I have been to high school in graphic and applied arts, I just have a 2 years technical degree in graphics and arts.
For the people of my generation it was already a feat, don’t forget that I’m 49 years old today.
But I was trained by my master and my first boss for 8 years, this man was an architect, filmmaker, painter and teacher of drawing.
I think university or high school are not necessarily a way to succeed in art, if a person doesn’t train or doesn’t want to learn with motivation there will be no results. It will be unpretentious, but I always finished major of promotion in schools’ art that I attended when I was student. I knew how to listen to my teachers and to experiment the techniques that I discover until complete mastery.
Then when my master asked me to replace him to give lessons to his students from time to time I did it with courage and I discovered that I could have qualities teachers too. Training others drives me to always be successful and to progress while after mistakes from my students.
How do you balance art with work and life? How do you make time for art?
For me, art and life are linked, I realize that access to the inaccessible is possible just to be positive in the face of the problems encountered but to live with art, one must be ready to accept to live as a poor person when it does not work and live like a king when you succeed. With a husband or wife and children who understand us is very important to succeed. The time for art is a daily, when we get up in the morning we think and we think about art, in the day we look around us and we are inspired, the evening we sometimes dream of art too. A good artist does not have a specific time devoted to art because in his head we think all the time about the next creation or the order.
Do you think making money from your art is important to you? Do you make money from your art? If so, how?
Making money with art is important like all trades but with art I often have a twinge in my heart when I see my work leaving in exchange for a check or money. Every painting is like a place that I visited or traveled in, it’s an adventure that I managed to finish the course.
Currently I sell my art by knowledge, ordered by French customers but I sell it also to Hmong in modern countries (France and USA). Many custom paintings and portraits of loved ones gone but I must admit that among the Hmong the price of a canvas that exceeds $ 500 to $ 600 is still too expensive for the majority. Yet I put a lot of love and energy into my work, I often exceed my scheduled hours.
Those who are quite educated know the value of art and order me but only 10% of Hmong on 100 requests. But I’m not discouraged, I let grow the new generation of Hmong and I wait 10 years in the future to see if my job or my popularity rating will be worth it. Currently the Hmong in the world know my art broadcast thanks to the social channels (Facebook, Youtube) and I continue to maintain this means of media.
Where do you get your ideas from?
My ideas I take from my story, the Hmong story, I am a shaman too. I’m part of the first generation born in Laos and grown up in France. I knew the war like our parents and grandparents and I arrived in France around the age of 8 to 9 years old. All the paintings I made are memories of my past.
For other theme I am inspired by the films but also works of other artists in the world.
I like open myself to other cultures and to the history of humanity, I love nature and I am curious about the things that surround me, that’s how I find my ideas.
What kinds of tools do you use to make your work or what is your typical artistic process like?
The pencil and the sheet of paper are the first tools of work, to complete the work I use the brushes and the canvas, I also paint on other supports (wood panels, plastic, sheet metal and even objects in volume). I am also very comfortable to draw and paint in digital painting and the advantage is that we can reproduce in any medium. I also love the volume and the sculpture gives me another sensation. Wood carving, clay, polysthyrène and any material not too heavy.
Are there any artists you look up to or find inspiring?
My favorite artists: Georges de La Tour, Norman Rockwell, Frank Frazetta, Wojtek Siudmak, Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri, Jung Gi Kim, Fenzu, Sorayama…
Do you have any favorite books, apps, movies, resources, or art tools that you recommend?
No, everything is good to learn, animal and human anatomy books, furniture and urban design, to understand volumes and texture. And even on Youtube we find a very good tutorial, but it is not worth a good passionate teacher who will bring you an effective and fast response. When we put the price we learn better but free we tend not to pay attention to the information given and we have no sense of the value of things.
Is there any advice you would like to give to young artists or people just starting out?
Yes, my advice is to try the adventure in art if you like and if it does not work, you have hands and feet so as a last resort you can take any job to live and if art works for you then you will live beautiful adventures and it is worth it.
But if you are scared or not passionate enough, then do other things to have the security of the job.
Is there anybody you would like to collaborate with or work for? Could be a person, another artist, or company.
If I have to work with someone, you need that person to give me something more, an area that I do not practice if it will that person is my level and my exigency because I am by nature very perfectionist. Otherwise, I got a taste of transmit my knowledge and I am ready to leave France to work in another country as a teacher.
What is your ultimate dream project or something you’ll like to accomplish in your lifetime (could be art or non-art related)?
In my lifetime, I would dream to work in a national or international institute recognized by the art world (but this is only a dream).
I also would like to leave my name in history after my death.
Are there any current projects that you’re working on or in the near future that you want to tell us about?
Yes, for the Hmong, I would like to make an illustrated book about the adventure of our people, besides I already started and the few paintings that you see on internet are certainly a part of it. I also have a project to make a band drawn on our kings or warlords of the past time and specially on PACHAI (Paj cai Vwj) in the manner of Asterix and Obelix because I consider that this character is the key element for the beginning of the recognition of the Hmong people in Laos, despite what some may say about him.
What is the best way to get a hold of you or view or purchase your work?
Youtube: Sébastien VANG
Facebook: Vang Txeuying (Tchou)
Facebook Art Page : Tchou-Txeu Ying-Sébastien Vang Artist
Thank you for taking time to read my comments and feel free to send me messages if you would like to know other details about my work or simply order something
Sébastien VANG (Txawj Yeej Vaaj) in France.