Mina Ho Ferrante
Newsletter: April 25 – May 9, 2018
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I was born and raised in Vietnam until I was 21 years old. I am the fourth generation of an artistic family. My great-grandfather was the artist of the Nguyen Dynasty’s royal court, and my grandma was the first professional woman artist of Vietnam. Before moving to the United States, I had a solo exhibition of silk paintings at the Fine Art Association of Ho Chi Minh city. The city’s daily news then named me “Vietnam’s youngest solo exhibition artist.” All the paintings were sold out, and part of the profit was donated to the families who suffered from a recent terribly destructive storm. In America, I attended the Academy of Art College, San Francisco. During the third year at The Academy of Art College, I was one of 35 students recruited from 13 top art colleges in America and Canada to attend Walt Disney’s Animation Training Boot Camp. Upon completing the “Boot Camp,” I was one of three students who received a scholarship and post-graduation offer to work for Disney Feature Animation Studios. At Walt Disney Animation I helped design movie sets for animation films including Atlantis, Treasure Planet, Home on the Range, Tarzan 2 and Lilo and Stitch 2. Recently, in 2017, I had my solo exhibition in Ho-Chi-Minh City, Vietnam. The show was a success with 22 out of 28 paintings sold and significant media coverage. I also donated money from the sale of three paintings to charity to help Vietnamese orphans and other people in need. I am a member of the Portrait Society of America, California Art Club, Burbank Art Association, Pasadena Society of Artists, Glendale Art Association and Women Painters West. I am involved in annual international exhibitions and also received multiple awards from many juried art shows in America. I am currently pursuing my Master of Fine Art in Modern History of Art at Azusa Pacific University. I live in Burbank, California with my husband and three children. When not taking care of my family and painting, I volunteer in the community and write. I also teach drawing and painting classes for both adults and children. In 2016, I had my first book published. It’s a bilingual fiction titled Prince of the Sea, which I wrote and illustrated.
How did you first become interested in art?
As I mentioned above, I was born into an artistic family. Thanks to my grandma, uncles and aunts, I learned to draw before I could write. After the civil war ended in 1975, most of the people in Vietnam struggled with hardship, and so did my family. There were times that my family had nothing to eat as we lived in extreme poverty. However, now as I look back, my memories are filled with happy images of us singing songs, playing the guitar, citing poems or creating drawing and writing to share with each other in the family. To my family, during that time, religion and art were very important factors that helped us survive the miserable time. In other words, art helped to keep our hope up so that we still believed in a better future.
How do you think art can enrich our community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
I feel lucky that our family now lives in such a wonderful community as Burbank. There are so many opportunities for families and individuals to engaged in arts in this city. The Burbank Arts for All Foundation raises great funds to support art programs in Burbank public schools each year. And, as we all know, Burbank has such wonderful public schools with fantastic art and music programs. Our great schools and their art and music programs are one of the main draws for people to move from other local areas to Burbank. Here, there are art fairs and festivals all year round. There are summer concerts (a lot of them are free or very affordable) where the residents can hang out, relax, make friends and create memories while enjoy music together. We have the great Creative Art Center, which offers a wide range of art classes and activities for kids and adults. And lastly, Burbank is the media center, the base for major studios, where movies and shows are made everyday. These studios not only give plenty of job opportunities to residents, but also provide inspiration and supports to students and young adults who are always in search of career direction and goals. Again, as I mentioned above: Art is a very important factor in human development and happiness. Therefore, a community with strong art will provide a healthy environment for citizen members, a place where we live and thrive happily; together in this place, we can build a better world.
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
I would tell parents of young kids that they should create a natural artistic environment at home to enable kids to be creative at anytime. Have materials such as paper, crayons and markers ready, so the younglings can doodle anytime they want. If you can’t afford a piano or a keyboard, get a guitar, a flute, a harmonica, tiny drums or some maracas. Turn off the TV, plug your ears and let the kids jam and be the rock stars!
To find out more about Mina’s work, visit http://www.minahoferrante.com/