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12-year-old Vietnamese painter hosts first U.S. solo exhibition

At just 12 years old Xeo Chu is setting sales records with his ‘Jackson Pollock’ like paintings selling for over $150,000 (USD).

Now the Vietnamese 7th grader is hosting his first solo exhibition, in the U.S. at the Georges Berges Gallery in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood.

“I was just telling him that the works of Pollock was producing was kind of at the pinnacle of his career. And he’s producing similar work at the start of his career. So, it’s very interesting to see where that’s going to head,” said gallery owner Georges Berges.

When asked what he likes about painting Chu said it’s simply the creativity: “I can do a lot of things with a painting. I can choose, like what I would draw or what detail can I put in or what color stuff like that.”

Chu began painting when he was four, after begging his mother to allow him to paint with his older brothers.

“He said mom today I not have English class, can I have colors? I said, yes, you have. And then from there, an artist, he says, this is a real artist. So, the artist went to me and asked, Suong, can we send this boy for me so I can guide him? So I said, sure you can guide him,” explained his mother, Nguyen T.T Suong, who owns an art gallery in Vietnam.

The tween juggles his two day a week painting schedule with school and a passion for reading and table tennis.

The exhibition titled “Big World, Little Eyes” features pieces from Chu’s Canada series and works inspired by his visit to Halong Bay.

“I think that’s my favorite because this is the first painting of those years, because right after I got back, I paint this because I was kind of inspired by how great it was, Halong Bay, because I’ve just visited. And I was like, oh, it’s so amazing and gorgeous. So, I wanted to paint it. So, after I went home I just did it immediately.”

Chu created an unnamed 15 ft long four panel piece especially for the New York show: “My mom told me I was going to have an exhibition in New York. So, so, I was like, oh, let’s make a big painting for this. Yeah, and that took like, I guess like three months.” 

The exhibit will begin on Thursday, December 19 until January 2.

(Production: Nelson Villarreall/Alicia Powell/Roselle Chen)

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