Phung Huynh photographed in her studio.

Phung Huynh

Phung Huynh is a Los Angeles-based artist and educator whose practice is primarily in drawing, painting, and public art. Her work explores cultural perception and representation. Huynh challenges beauty standards by reconstructing images of the Asian female body vis-à-vis plastic surgery to unpack how contemporary cosmetic surgery can create obscurity in cultural and racial identity. Her most current work of drawings on pink donut boxes and cross-stitched, personalized California license plates explores the complexities of the refugee experience in Southeast Asian communities. Phung Huynh has exhibited nationally and internationally. She has also completed public art commissions for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro Orange Line, Metro Silver Line, and Metro Neighborhood Poster Series) and the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Phung Huynh is currently Professor of Art at Los Angeles Valley College. Photo by Genessis Martinez . 

My work investigates notions of cultural identity from a kaleidoscopic perspective, a continual shift of idiosyncratic translations and slippage. The contemporary American landscape is where I explore how cultural tropes are imported, disassembled, and then reconstructed. In an overwhelmingly diverse metropolis such as Los Angeles, images flood our social lens, taking on multiple [mis]interpretations. Becoming American cannot be painted in broad strokes. It is a personal experience that is complicated, messy, and certainly not easy. Understanding my family’s living history as refugees from both Vietnam and Cambodia and inspired by research and interviews with people with a shared history, I try to uncover the complex layers of cultural assimilation and forging new identities. It is more than just donuts and pink boxes. It is about being able to tell our own stories before they are told for us. It is about sharing our humanity when we are veiled by inhumanity.