Vietnamese painter makes reverse glass abstracts in minutes

Vietnamese painter makes reverse glass abstracts in minutes

In his 30-year career, Đoàn Việt Tiến made over 1,500 glass paintings depicting the scenery of his hometown and his past, in addition to 350 portraits of politicians and cultural figures of Việt Nam and the world.

Đoàn Việt Tiến has set two world records using reverse drawing on tempered glass by fingertips. Photo courtesy of the artist

By Lương Thu Hương

A Vietnamese painter has set a world record for a unique artistic talent – creating fantastic reverse glass paintings by fingers, instead of brushes, in minutes.

This is the second time that Hồ Chí Minh City-based Đoàn Việt Tiến, 63, has set a world record. He has also been honored for using his 10 fingers instead of brushes to paint 12 abstracts on the reverse side of tempered glass at a time in six minutes and 24 seconds.

In his 30-year career, Tiến made over 1,500 glass paintings depicting the scenery of his hometown and his past, in addition to 350 portraits of politicians and cultural figures of Việt Nam and the world.

The highlights in the collection are portraits of President Hồ Chí Minh, former US President Donald Trump, King of Bhutan, President Fidel Castro, among others.

Besides breaking world records twice, the talented painter has also set several Việt Nam records.

His works display creativity, dedication, and artistic talent, making each piece a unique example of his relentless commitment to art.

Aside from his unique drawing technique and time, the paintings express the sophistication and personality of the characters. His works are the results of an infinite imagination crystallized through hard work alongside an artist’s innate talent.

The artist uses his fingers to create reverse glass paintings. Photo courtesy of the artist

Tiến was born in Phú Đức Commune in the southern province of Bến Tre in 1961. Drawing was his passion from a young age. However, due to the war, he had to put aside his passion to join the volunteer army fighting the Khmer Rouge troops in the Cambodian battlefields in 1979.

After returning from war, Tiến made ends meet as a portrait painter, travelling across all the provinces in the southwest.

“I was not professionally trained in arts. However, my uncle, writer Đoàn Giỏi, (author of the novel Southern Land and Forest) saw my innate ability and encouraged me to pursue fine art,” Tiến said.

In 1989 he first tried painting on the reverse side of a piece of glass with a paintbrush but failed due to the smooth glass surface that didn’t hold the paint and caused it to smudge.

After using his fingers and noticing the smooth strokes of colours, Tiến decided to practise painting with all of his ten fingertips at a time. His first creation was a portrait of President Hồ Chí Minh.

In the initial days, the artist’s fingers became numb and stiff, requiring several days to recover. He had to soak his hands in various medicinal herb water to soothe his hands.

“There were paintings I worked on to the point where my fingers were bleeding,” he said.

He finally mastered his unique painting technique after 10 years, creating hundreds of portraits of political figures and celebrities, landscapes and abstracts.

Tiến is pictured with a reverse glass portrait of President Hồ Chí Minh. — Photo courtesy of the artist

“During the US-North Korea Summit in Hà Nội in 2019, I presented US President Donald Trump with his portrait I painted myself. He really liked it,” Tiến recalled.

As a member of the Fine Arts Association of HCM City, he became a sensation with his reverse glass painting style, having three solo exhibitions and over 30 group exhibitions, where all of his artworks were sold out.

His works are found displayed in many countries around the world, such as Cuba and Israel. He has been invited to demonstrate his glass painting technique in England, Austria, India and the United Arab Emirates.

The record holder was also awarded an honorary doctorate by the World Record University for his research on mindful painting: “Entering the Life of the Human Mind.”

Tiến believes the ultimate purpose of creating art is “unlocking the subconscious mind, enlightening the essence, developing personality, and contributing to society.”

The majority of the proceeds from the selling of his works are donated to charities such as for building homes for the needy, providing support to the impoverished, and assisting poor artists across the western provinces, particularly those in his hometown of Bến Tre.

In the art programme to pay tribute to Bến Tre, held in HCM City in January, Tiến made a glass painting entitled Rồng Xanh Sông Sài Gòn (Blue Dragon – Sài Gòn River) in four minutes. It was sold at VNĐ300,000,000 (US$12,000), which will be donated to disadvantaged school students in Bến Tre.

Rồng Xanh Sông Sài Gòn (Sài Gòn River Blue Dragon) by Đoàn Việt Tiến is sold at VNĐ300,000,000 (US$12,000), — Photo courtesy of the artist

He revealed that he would introduce a collection of landscapes in 2024, each of which would be accompanied by a poem written by himself. He said the paintings would enable viewers to contemplate their own souls, as well as find calmness and positivity in life. VNS

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