defies definition. Attempts to control it will always
fail to recognize the sum of all its interdependencies."
Pho was a sophomore majoring in architecture when the
Vietnam War ended in Saigon. Refusing to accept the reality
of Communism, he attempted his first escape, only to have
it end in a re-education camp. After trying again three
more times, his day arrived: he and 38 companions reached
freedom after seven days in a small boat floating across
the Gulf of Siam to Malaysia.
that day on, Pho began his life again, turning toward
wood as a symbol of living things. Piercing and carving
a fresh-cut log or piece of timber, he creates negative
space in his lathe-turned designs to represent the unseen
weight of the unknown.
grew up in the midst of the war. When the "Red
Peace" descended upon the land in 1975, I refused
to accept the reality of Communism. Six months later,
I attempted my first escape to find freedom, but instead,
I ended up in a Re-education Camp. I spent one year
in there to supposedly get my brain washed. Then, the
Communist Government let me back in the city. After
that, I tried to escape three more times.
my day had come. On September 29, 1978, my thirty-eight
companions and I reached the Freedom Soil after seven
days on a small boat floating across the Gulf of Siam
to Malaysia. Due to vast numbers of refugees at that
time, I spent eight months in a Refuge Camp located
on a deserted island outside of Kuala Lumpur.
date was May 7, 1979, when I was re-united with my family
in St. Louis, Missouri, after four of the longest years
of my life. Now I reside in Maple Park, Illinois, a
western suburb of Chicago, where I designed and built
a 1,500 square-foot studio next to the house.
a heavy log of timber to a light, thin vessel, negative
spaces interlock with solid surface. The color, grain
and natural look of the wood all reflect the principle
of Yin and Yang. My work comes from memories, culture,
Zen mind and my own thoughts. Negative spaces inspire
me, as they represent the unseen weight of the unknown,
which I use to take the viewers into my work.
make-up artist does not only know the script of a play,
but also feels the characters that the actor and actresses
are portraying. The make-up artist's goal is to express
that feeling to the audience.
do I do? I put a soul into every piece I create. I don’t
make objects; I create characters. If the viewers can
pick up on that soul, I’ve accomplished it. Creating
figurative and abstract imagery on delicately pierced
wood vessels opens the doors for me to share my life
and interests. There was a period of time that I looked
through the window and asked myself the question, "What
is it like on the other side of that window?" I
then just let my imagination go.