The Hà Nội Industrial Fine Arts University will celebrate its 70th anniversary on November 14. It recently held Hà Nội Art Connecting with 60 international artists.
Việt Nam News reporter Nguyễn Thúy Bình interviews French artist Jean-Charles Sarrazin, one of the university's former students. He is currently an author and illustrator at l'Ecole des Loisirs Publishing House. He also attended the event for the first time.
French artist Jean-Charles Sarrazin. — Photo thegioidienanh.vn
Hà Nội Art Connecting has been held since 2016. Is this the first time you have attended the event? What did you think about it?
Yes, it is the first time I participated in this event. I think it is very interesting to meet artists from all over the world seeing their work and sharing the art with them.
Did you attend the workshop at the event? Did you create artwork?
Yes I did, in two ways. My work is a little bit different as I am author and illustrator of children's books. I’m lucky because Nhã Nam Publishing has translated into Vietnamese three of my books so Hà Nội Industrial Fine Arts University organised a workshop to present the publishing works to graphics arts students.
They started their own projects following my advice and expertise, and used their proper style. I also participated as an artist sketching daily life in Hà Nội about streets and people.
What did you like the most at the event?
Meeting new people and encountering again my old artist friends from when I studied here in 1987 like Trịnh Tuân, who was a young professor in that moment and now he’s one of the event organisers.
The event was co-held by Hà Nội Industrial Fine Arts University and Asia Art Link. You are a former student of the university. Did that make it more meaningful for you?
I was honoured to be invited by the university where I studied 30 years ago. This period was key in my career, here is where everything started for my art.
Hà Nội inspires me a lot because all of its artistic life and gives me a lot of energy for creating.
Could you tell us about your studies there?
It was a great time. I was the first French student that came to Việt Nam after the war ended.
Poet Cù Huy Cận, former culture minister, facilitated my internship to be accepted at the university. Hà Nội was very different but the people remain charming and welcoming.
During my one studying year (1987-88) at the university, the challenge was to learn traditional techniques of traditional art lacquer and wood engravings.
In exchange, I shared my skills on visual communications. It was a precious experience.
You had an exhibition in Hà Nội in 2017 at L'Espace. Have you displayed your artworks at the university?
My sketches made during the workshop at Hà Nội Art Connecting were displayed at the exhibition after the event closed.
Have you had any projects with Vietnamese artists?
In 2017, I was invited by the French Cultural Centre (L'Espace) in Hà Nội to organise an exhibition.
It was that moment when my books were translated to be part of the European Literature Festival held in Hà Nội.
Three books were introduced to Vietnamese readers including The Seed of Love. It is about sex education - a topic that many parents in Việt Nam don't want to approach with their children.
In an artistic point of view, not for the moment but I will be delighted to do one in the future. However, probably I will be here again in January for a literature festival.
My latest book is inspired by a Vietnamese fairy tale entitled Trí Khôn Của Ta Đâu (Where Is My Wisdom?).
The book conveys a message that everyone is smart in his/her own way. You just need to know how to use it correctly. — VNS