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Great Arts at Eastern talks with Van Thang on Fall Events in Visual Art

Jeff Gentry this week talks with Van Thang and his works in the Arts Exhibition N’deesdiin at the Runnels Gallery on the Eastern Campus.

Eastern Artist Van Thang on the Eastern New Mexico University Campus in Portales, New Mexico
Jeff Gentry
Eastern New Mexico University, Department of Fine Arts
Eastern Artist Van Thang on the Eastern New Mexico University Campus in Portales, New Mexico

GENTRY: And now Great Arts at Eastern; from the Portales campus of Eastern New Mexico University. I’m Jeff Gentry, Dean of the College of Fine Arts, here on KENW, your Public Radio Network. Today my guest is Van Thang, one of the most talented and multi-talented artists in Eastern New Mexico. Van is a Bachelor of Fine Arts student at ENMU in Portales, New Mexico. Thank you for joining me today.

VAN THANG: I thank you for having me.

GENTRY: Van, I was going to ask you if your BFA emphasis was in visual arts or graphic design, but that would present a false dichotomy.

VAN THANG: Yeah, that. Right, that’s my minor. I was thinking about adding it into my major, but that’s going to take me longer, so I just want to learn the computer stuff. So-

GENTRY: Right, so your visual arts, painting, drawing, 3D, right?


GENTRY: And you do graphic design. Is there anything in the Fine Arts you don’t do?

VAN THANG: Well, In the fine art, if, uh, animations or digital filmmaking, so stuff like that are included then, well, those I- I don’t do. Something that I would love to learn as well, but.-

GENTRY: Alright-

VAN THANG: But I don’t have time, I think.

GENTRY: For another day, but I- I read that you also play guitar and- and really enjoy the arts, and that’s wonderful. So, what is your latest painting project?

VAN THANG: So, my latest painting project is from the painting project class that I’m working on. It is surrealism which I don’t usually do. And I’m thinking of going into something, something new. And- Yeah, is there a little bit of biblical painting as well, so.

GENTRY: Great, yeah, and one has been in just about every student exhibition in the Runnels Gallery; or in the Art and Anthropology building since what? 2018 or so. Right?


GENTRY: And when can we expect your senior exhibition?

VAN THANG: So, the senior exhibition is coming soon, it is in November? Yeah.

GENTRY: Right- Right after Thanksgiving, I guess is when we can check that out. And unlike the Runnels Gallery, this particular show will be in the art and anthropology building in the hallway.

VAN THANG: That’s what I heard, yes.

GENTRY: Right. OK, excellent. And tell me a little bit about your homeland: The Chin state in Southeast Asia.

VAN THANG: Yes, so my homeland is a- Is a very Un- is undeveloped. Villages and towns, townships. So, I grew up in a small village. As a farmer, so things are very different from here and there. All we do over there is farming well. I even drop out of school just to work on the farm.

GENTRY: Right? Well, it sounds a little bit like Eastern New Mexico, where agriculture is important here too. And we’re sparsely populated the way you are in the Chin state.

VAN THANG: Right, that’s so true.

GENTRY: So, um, now there are a lot of Christians in your particular part of the Miramar, Nation-state.

VAN THANG: Right- right? Yeah, the Chin state, ah, we are Christians, but the other states like the whole of Burma, it is more of Buddhism, and we are separate- kind of like I separate kind of state when it comes to religion. Yeah.

GENTRY: Right, excellent. So, you’ve done several public art events, such as your Four-Color painting series last year that you did and then yesterday’s Painting with a Swirl. It sounds like you enjoy working with beginning artists.

VAN THANG: Yes, I love to share my- My talents. I will say what I can do to others as well. And then is a very fun activity to do with our friends and- friends and families and those who love arts, music, and Poetry. All that’s come together in that little event. So-

GENTRY: Excellent. Well- well, keep it going. I hope that you could do another public event because you work with ASAB, right? The associated students as the graphic designer. And that’s kind of brought you into some of these public events.

VAN THANG: Yes, that’s true. I’m the Campus life graphic art designer, which got me into the Painting with a Swirl. Yeah.

GENTRY: That’s great. Well, what a very busy man. And so, Van, you may be interested in knowing that the next art exhibition in the Runnels Gallery is the New Mexico and West Texas Art Educator, and that begins on September 27th, coordinated by Bryan Hahn. Van Thang thank you so much for being my guest today.

VAN THANG: Ah, thank you so much.

GENTRY: Look for Van’s and the other senior exhibitions later this semester, just after Thanksgiving in the Art and Anthropology Building. Our listeners can find all the Great Arts at Eastern at enmu.edu/FineArtsEvents. Thanks for listening on KENW, your Public Radio Network.

Painting with a Swirl
ENMU Department of Fine Arts and Sciences

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