Chu has sold his works to help the elderly, homeless children and the fight against Covid in Vietnam.
Xeo Chu is still a teenager, but he has already sold his works for more than $150,000. The Vietnamese boy is a sensation in the art world: he started painting at the age of four, sold his first work at the age of six and today has exhibitions in London, New York, Singapore and his native Vietnam. His work has been compared to that of Jackson Pollock, pioneer of dripping, but Xeo Chu’s story is even more touching: he started painting thanks to his mother.
In an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, Xeo Chu says that his first painting was a portrait of his mother, Nguyen Thi Thu Suong. She took him and his siblings, from an early age, to drawing and painting classes. And although his siblings soon tired and gave up that extra activity, Chu made it his life: ‘I love painting,’ he says. ‘Even if I sometimes feel lonely, painting fills me with joy. I disappear for hours when I paint.’
His real name is Pho Van An, but his stage name is Xeo Chu, which means ‘little pig.’
When he was 10 years old in 2017, Xeo Chu had his first exhibition in Singapore. He made $20,000 in profits and put all of it to support organizations dedicated to heart surgery, elderly people living on their own, and homeless children. Later, during the pandemic, Chu presented his first collection of NFTs and sold eight pieces in a Facebook auction; he gave the $20,000 to a hospital so it could purchase equipment for Covid-19.
During the pandemic, Xeo Chu had an exhibition in his city, Ho Chi Minh City, which could be visited virtually from anywhere in the world and where you could interact with the painter while he did his work live.
Chu is considered an art prodigy, but even he doesn’t know exactly what that means... and he doesn’t care that much either. Although he might study art in London in the near future, he tells The Guardian that he doesn’t know if he wants to pursue painting for the rest of his life: ‘I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up, I’m just a kid.’
Story originally published in Cultura Colectiva in Spanish.