The Canvas

Some art is created to be kept and marveled upon. Other art is produced live for no other reason than the enjoyment of creating art and the effect it induces on the audience. Words by Vu Ha Kim Vy.


Located on a land site facing the sea, December’s Mui Ne Music & Arts Festival was only in part focused on live music. Installed into two, three-storey sets at the wings of the main live music stage was a blank, 100m-long canvas. Throughout the three days of the festival well over a dozen artists would work on it to create what would be the largest artwork ever fashioned in this part of Asia.


Yet when we arrived at 4pm on the Friday afternoon, the party had yet to start. Or at least the music. Several artists were already painting the canvas with different styles and shapes.


“The key word is the journey!” said Lee Wessels, from Live Art Saigon. Twelve international artists including sculptors, designers, VJs, graffiti artists and painters, inspired by this key word, let the paintbrush express their journey in their own ways. The result was a canvas with a combination of hand paintings, graffiti, coloured geometric shapes and abstract images.


“What are the standards required for artists to get involved with this?” I asked.


“Standards? No, these are my friends and we are doing this for fun and art,” he replied.


3D Mapping


Not only was the canvas an incredible artwork, but it was also an expression of the enthusiasm of the whole team, Live Art Saigon, which had spent more than two weeks getting everything ready for the festival. It was a live performance starting on the Friday afternoon and continuing after dusk. But if you had left the festival too early on the Sunday, you would have missed the chance to see the final artwork.


“Some sections are being left for the 3D mapping guy,” said Lee, while pointing at the canvas. At this time, I had no idea what he was talking about. As day turned to night, the music and lights came up.


In the dark, the festival looked like a ruby stone with pink lights installed at the triangle-shaped fence. Lights on the main stage, especially around the canvas, became brighter, more spectacular.


Daniel Day Long, the 3D mapping guy, spent hours doing the video mapping on the canvas, following the outline of the sections left by Live Art Saigon’s artists. Depending on the night and area, different types of light were displayed through a projector, making the canvas more marvellous than ever.


“How long have you been doing this?” I asked.


“Three years,” he replied, his eyes staying on the mapping screen.


I couldn’t carry on the conversation as the music got louder and louder. He was intent on his work, too, and I wanted to enjoy the masterpiece.


For more info on Live Art Saigon and the artists involved in this and other work, click on

More in this category: « Contemporary Art Film in Vietnam »

1 comment

  • lee wessels
    lee wessels Friday, 15 January 2016 22:48 Comment Link

    Thanks for the kind words :) we're glad you liked it, we will be back for much much more!
    Could you please make a link form the article to the live art saigon fb page, so people can find the artist names and other projects?
    Thanks and see you again ;)
    Live Art Saigon

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