Today we’d like to introduce you to Denise Duong.
Denise, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
From my very first memories, I can remember creating art. I’ve always loved to draw and I got into painting in high school. I feel like my style really embraced itself when I was living in Chicago attending the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago. Waiting for the subway and bus was when it all came together. While I would wait for the train to arrive, I would draw and sketch.
After returning to Oklahoma City from Chicago and my crazy travels across the USA, I focused more on my paintings. That is when I fell in love with mixed media. Mixing paper along with my paintings and drawings I was able to bring my creations to life. I started showing at a local gallery in Oklahoma City called JRB Art at the Elms and things kind of picked up from there. I started showing in Utah, Colorado, and California and it been an amazing ride.
Along with creating paintings, I paint murals as well. I started out doing graffiti and paintings mural at Paint Louis around 2001-2002? After that, I put a lot of my focus on my canvas work and retired that part of my life. About five years ago, I picked up painting murals again and have recently completed the largest piece of my life! 30ft high and 90 feet wide. It’s in the heart of Oklahoma City.
Has it been a smooth road?
Rejection after rejection is something you face constantly in life. As an artist, you have to have some thick skin when it comes to rejection. I think the hardest part about being rejected as an artist is that art can be very intimate and vulnerable. When rejected, sometimes it can feel very personal. I tried to never let that become the case for myself and kept on. Making art is in my soul and I was going to create all the time no matter how many challenges and walls I had to climb.
Growing up in Oklahoma City in the 90’s and early 2000 trying to find my spot as an artist didn’t come easy. But the support I did have there I treasure. I am still friends with those people today and have so much gratitude to them. The struggle of not knowing how to go about being a professional artist is like being out in the middle of the ocean not knowing which direction to go and nothing to guide you in the right direction. I’m on a boat right now in the Atlantic and feel lost even though there’s a captain! haha, The resources weren’t out there like they are today.
The biggest struggles were the internal struggles of what the fuck am I doing and how the hell do I get to where I want to be with it?
We’d love to hear more about your work.
My paintings encompass everyday life and emotions through my lenses. They are personal and vulnerable. They have what many would say whimsical notes with touches of humor and sometimes subtle dark undertones.
There are many stories to follow in each painting. There’s never one story to a story. Within each story lies another story.
My greatest achievements in my art career have been to have shown around the world. I have a deep love for travel and adventure. With that, I have troves of inspiration. I love my ability to paint and draw on my journeys. I’m literally living the dream. I’ve made watercolor paintings on a boat to the Faroe Islands, rice fields of Bali, a farm in the Mekong Delta, a campsite in New Zealand, next to a river in Mongolia, and so on… Creating a new body of work is the most satisfying feeling. Being able to see them grouped up in a beautiful space and be able to soak it all in. A diary that you’ve allowed those that can decode them to see the inner weavings of your inside.
I’m also extremely proud of my murals. The adventure that comes along with painting outside. Having to deal with the elements of the outdoors and riding up and down a lift, just to step back and have your breath taken away by your own work. It’s a proud feeling.
I think the way I tell a story makes my work mine. Its how I see and feel.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I honestly don’t know Dallas that well!!
- Address: Little D Gallery
3003 Paseo Drive
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
- Website: www.deniseduongart.com
- Phone: 2024456343
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: lildfromokc
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/deniseduongart
- Twitter: deniseduong
Neil Chapman (photographer for murals)