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12-Year-Old Vietnamese Artist Holds Own Art Show in New York

Xeo Chu, a young Vietnamese artist, stands in front of one of his pieces before his first solo show at the Georges Berges Gallery in New York City, New York, U.S., December 18, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
12-Year-Old Vietnamese Artist Holds Own Art Show in New York
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People who look at abstract, costly works of art and joke “a child probably painted that” are finally right.

At just 12 years old, Xeo Chu of Vietnam is setting sales records with his colorful abstract paintings. Some are selling for more than $150,000. They are being compared to works by American artist Jackson Pollock.

The seventh-grade student from Vietnam is holding his first show as a solo artist. It is taking place at the Georges Berges Gallery, in New York City’s wealthy SoHo neighborhood. The show is called Big World, Little Eyes. It opened December 19 and runs through January 2, 2020.

Chu has been painting since he was 4 years old. He made his first sale when he was only 6.

“One customer came and bought my painting and I was really happy. That was when I was like six. Yep,” Chu said.

Chu’s mother owns an art gallery in Vietnam. As a young child, Chu repeatedly asked his mom to let him paint with his older brothers.

For his New York show, Chu created a 4.5-meter-long artwork divided into four pieces. The work is unnamed.

Chu explained, “My mom told me I was going to have an exhibition in New York. So, I was like, ‘Oh, let’s make a big painting for this.’ That took like three months.”

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

Chu’s work has been compared to that of Jackson Pollock, a major artist in the abstract expressionist movement of the 1940s and 1950s.

One difference between the two, however: Pollock produced his most famous pieces at the height of his career. That, said gallery owner Georges Berges, came several decades after Pollock’s 12th birthday.

Chu “is producing similar work at the start of his career,” Berges said. “So, it’s very interesting to see where that’s going to head.”

I’m Ashley Thompson.

The Reuters news agency reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted the story for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


Words in This Story

abstract - adj. expressing ideas and emotions by using elements such as colors and lines without attempting to create a realistic picture

gallery - n. a business that sells paintings, sculptures, etc.

solo - adj. done without another person

customer - n. someone who buys goods or services from a business

stuff - n. materials, supplies, or equipment

draw - v. to make (a picture, image, etc.) by making lines on a surface especially with a pencil, pen, marker, chalk, etc., but not usually with paint

decade - n. a period of 10 years