American Fine Art Sculptor
The story of Tuan, creator of the inspirational Vietnam War Memorial in Westminster, California; the dramatically spiritual bronze of Saint Therese “The Little Flower” in Mobile, Alabama; the breathtaking collection of heroic sculptures in Kuhn Development Corporation in Orlando, Plaza in Orlando, Florida and a vast collection of other outstanding bronze sculptures, begins in Saigon, South Vietnam, where Tuan was born into a family of wealth, privilege and royal lineage.
The early years for Tuan were carefree, surrounded by family and friends and isolated from the war that raged in the countryside. Life was good, up until the fall of Saigon on April 30th, 1975. Overnight, Tuan’s life was turned upside-down; oppression gripped the country, and freedom and privilege became relics of the past.
Tuan’s father, a well-known and respected architect, was taken away, the family compound was divided up, and life became harsh and restrictive. The return of Tuan’s father from the re-education camp began shaping Tuan into the man we know today. Tuan’s father turned to his love of sculpting to help maintain his sanity, with Tuan by his side. Day after day they sculpted together, the mentor and his student, and even though they did not always agree on style and composition, Tuan began to learn the skills that were to lead him to his destiny.
Later, while imprisoned, Tuan created opportunity by using the red clay from the floor of his cell to sculpt the likenesses of fellow prisoners. These prison sculptures helped to make prison life more bearable for the young artist. After six long months in the prison camp and eighteen more of hard labor, Tuan’s family managed to arrange for his release. In 1988, after struggling in refugee camps from Cambodia, to Thailand and the Philippines, he was finally sponsored to join a family in The United States, where a very different life awaited him.
After gaining hands-on experience at a bronze foundry in Northern California and living the life of a starving artist for a time, Tuan moved to Southern California to study fine art at the prestigious Art Institute of Southern California in Laguna Beach for five years. He then decided to dedicate his life to making the world a more beautiful place with his art and furthering the world’s understanding of the "Existential Balance" and its importance concerning human experience.
“My sincere hope is that my art will successfully stimulate others to see the beauty of this world and to accept its balance. Balance is central to existence and is a basic human need; to lead a balanced life is to find its center.” – Tuan
In 1994, Tuan was honored as a young sculptor with a meritorious body of work, by the National Sculpture Society in New York, who presented him with the coveted Gloria Medal. In 1995 he was awarded the prestigious Gold Medal for sculpture by the California Art Club and in 1998 he won the national competition for the design and sculpting of the Vietnam War Memorial by the city of Westminster, California.