Suzanne Nguyen is a story collector but foremost an artist. Suzanne believes that stories are valuable and everyone has a story to share. Suzanne is facilitating an Introduction to Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign on Sunday 7 July. Colour Box Studio asked Suzie some questions on what to expect from her upcoming residency.
Tell us a little bit about yourself including past projects?
I have been going around Australia as a vagabond Story Collector. I travelled around rural NSW to gather people’s stories. While on a train to Wagga Waga sitting next to me was a lady who has lived in Wagga for about 25 years. After I collected her story map, I asked her what she gained from the experience and she said, “ I don’t mind the drawing, but I liked talking to you more”.
My name is Suzanne Nguyen, I am a story collector but foremost an artist. I collect stories to make a story. Gathering stories is an integral part of my creative practice. For the last three years, I have collected over 350 (and counting) stories. My last two notable projects were having an exhibition at No Vacancy Project Space in Federation Square and I also self-published my first book, entitled: Memory Maps [Melbourne].
What is your current project and what was your inspiration?
Have you ever heard of or seen a stamp on a piece of furniture that says: ‘European Labour Only’?
During the 1950s the European Australians felt threated by the presence of Chinese furniture makers. This was because they offered cheap labour and made furniture that was like the Ikea of this time. So what this stamp came to be was to encourage white folks to buy white made goods.
Inspired by this dark and hidden legacy, I wanted to bring this story to light. With the help of chair making guy, Max – we will be manufacturing two chairs – one will be yellow and the other will be white. The main role of these two chairs is to allow for two individuals to have a deep and meaningful conversation about their experience of racism. To ensure we have an ongoing collection of stories, The Two Chairs will be launched in various workshops, exhibitions and art festivals. So far we have built a prototype and we are hoping to raise funds via Pozible to build the final chairs and have it part of the Melbourne Fringe Furniture Exhibition. The launch party is expected to be coming up on 23rd of June 2013.
I have read that you have many artistic mediums is there one in particular that you gravitate towards?
If you asked me this question two years ago I would have instantly said string installation in the public space but these days I feel like my work has crossed a lot of boundaries. Lately, I have focused on converting some of the memory maps I have collected into print works. This is where I take peoples drawings and scale them in real lifetime map prints. That is one of the projects I will be focusing on during my time at Colour Box Studio.
Where did you grown up and has it influenced your style?
Generally I have to admit, Melbourne and its culture has played a big part of the person I am today. I love the city, its food, its vibrancy, its art scene and the people here are great.
My favourite secret place has to be Footscray. I have noticed that in the heart of the city there is a great sense of diversity. I love going to the various markets Footscray has to offer and being able to find a wide range of different foods. You can choose to get great African food from a range of places, or cannoli at T. Callvaro & Sons. Only in Footscray can you get an awesome bread roll at 3 in the morning. The best pho is found in Hung Vuong. I am looking forward to collecting stories from here.
Who or what makes you feel most creative?
When I meet people. I believe that everyone has a story to tell and that they themselves are interesting. By building a collection of stories I see patterns and that inspires me to create work. Whether it be drawing or creating a community based project.
What can people expect from your up coming residency at Colour Box Studio?
So Many things, but its all related to people and stories of Footscray.
The highlights will be:
- The “Memories of Footscray” Postcard exchange;
- My chair ‘The Two Chairs’ prototype which people are invited to come in and share their stories about racism;
- An exhibition showcasing the work I have done during my residency at Colour Box Studio; and
- The Open day studio on the 23rd of June. I will be having an artist talk, closing party and launching a Pozible campaign to raise funds for my next project
- Introduction to Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign one day intensive workshop including morning tea and lunch, 7 July 2013. Bookings essential.
Come and visit me, what’s your story?
To see more of Suzanne’s work you can:
Visit her Memory Maps [Melbourne] at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSKLcpnc8xY
Like her: http://www.facebook.com/stringstory
Follow on Twitter: @string_story
Visiting her blog: www.aDollarStory.wordpress.com
See her Portfolio www.cargocollective.com/suzannenguyen