Culture Vulture (14-05-2014)

Update: May, 14/2014 - 08:30

A festival known as the Journalism Cartoons contest was held in HCM City last month. The works then went on sale at Mai's Gallery.

Do Thi Tuyet Mai, owner of the gallery, spoke about the developing market for cartoons.

What makes you think that cartoons should be introduced to the fine-arts market?

First of all, principle of a market is to sell anything. When we prepared for the festival, I was impressed by all the entries.

I always look at cartoons in newspapers and on the Internet. But I haven't had a chance to see hand-painted originals. I can understand more about the artists when I see their work.

Actually, there is no true market for fine arts in Viet Nam. Only museums, fine arts schools and the press honour painting. However, I know that demand for cartoon purchasing is real.

Photographer Hai Dong owns a collection of cartoons by his father, cartoonist Nguyen Hai Chi, who used the pen-name Choe. The collection fascinates collectors, but Hai Dong would never sell it.

I highly appreciate the collection because of its moral and ideological value. If photographer Hai Dong wanted to sell his collection, all the pieces would be quickly sold.

How about the cartoons displayed at your gallery? Why do you believe they will sell well?

Cartoons can be much more powerful than words. One drawing at my gallery depicts a mother and her son with a new motorcycle. The mother reminds her son to use it safely.

I will buy it to hang in my son's room. I think it will be highly effective.

At present, using images to make a point is becoming popular on the Internet.

What is needed to set up a market for cartoons?

It is difficult to say, but I feel inspired. I hope my experience as a collector will help me.

I have taken part in many international art fairs. About 13 years ago, I took 20 original posters to an Affordable Art Fair in New York. Amazingly, almost of them were sold out at for from US$300-500.

The event was highlighted by newspapers in Viet Nam. Immediately, most galleries in HCM City copied political posters and started selling them.

Only foreigners were interested at the beginning. Now there are many Vietnamese who want to collect posters.

This is why I believe that the winning cartoons from the Journalism Cartoon contest will all be sold.

How are works valued ?

Works that are distinctive cost more. To make an impact, cartoonists should avoid copying at an early stage.

Value is decided by society. The most important thing is to have collectors, artists and go-betweens in galleries. — VNS