YouTube Video
The Dee Armstrong Show: Artist Randy Nguyen (watch in YouTube)

Randy Nguyen, a native of Vietnam and now a Columbus resident, creates mural art that transforms the environment and communities as well. He believes that his art should involve, challenge and inspire the viewer; not simply adorn, but integrate with its architectural surroundings.

By Kristen Brown Photos by S. Saxon

When we first saw Randy’s artwork the thing that startled us the most was the range of subjects he paint on a daily basis. It is rare for an artist to have mastered so many design elements, and to carry them out so well. Randy sat down with SVMto share his life, his inspirations and most importantly, his artwork.

You are originally from Vietnam and have been in Columbus for a number of years. What path led you to what you’re doing now?

One of my first works was a mural commissioned by my sister in San Jose, California; the theme was an Italian garden. After that first mural, I tried to challenge myself and started to earn more commissioned pieces. I’m always inspired by the age and triumph of the Renaissance art in Italy. From the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, to works of artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Titian, I will never run out of motivation to create unique pieces of art.

How long have you been doing art and what thrills you the most about being a decorative painter?

I began my career as a portrait artist in 1976 in Williamsburg, Virginia. Then, in 1985 I continued in the same capacity in Anaheim, California. One of my biggest influences is John Singer Sargent, a very well-known artist, who specialized in portraits, landscape and murals. I have always admired his work and I try to emulate his passion and style of art. What really thrills me the most about this business is the potential for opportunities to change a place forever. I would love the chance to paint a chapel or a large dome ceiling mural in the future.

How would you describe your own style of decorative art design?

My style is a combination of the academic standards and traditional painting of the Renaissance era in Italy. I generally try to infuse classical décor with new and old elements. The Italian style is very decorative, which incorporates theatrical renderings, translucent use of color and very precise details that reproduce physical characteristics almost exactly. This style of decorative design is very popular in Europe and dates back, in various forms, all the way to ancient Egypt.

It seems almost universal that people take delight in being visually tricked. What is it about Trompe l’oeil that people like?

Trompe l’oeil is an art technique involving realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions. Basically, it’s fooling our eyes and mind because it looks real, but actually it is the painting in a 3D format. For me, it is a good way to add dimensions to walls or ceilings.

Can you share a moment when you felt really proud of a completed project? What was the client’s reaction?

As an artist, it’s hard to describe the feeling you get from a completed project. You can’t really be satisfied with it until the client is happy and comfortable with the outcome. That’s when you can relax and be proud of a job well done.

Do you have a dream project you would like to work on one day?

I have a lot of different projects I would like to accomplish, but my dream project would be a large scale mural in the Columbus Library or the Columbus Museum.

Randy is available to travel for commissioned decorative wall paintings. For more information about his work, contact Randy Nguyen at 706.687.6529 (studio) or 706.615.0627.