In practicing one’s art and in living one’s life, there is a point of realization when the inner meaning that defines one’s very existence opens itself up to the artist. If one is lucky enough to experience this enlightenment only once, that would suffice as is it not the eternal search for the purpose of our lives that drives us once the mundane necessities of life are no longer the objects of our daily worries? One can equate it to love, perhaps, as love cannot be taught, learned, or absorbed but has to be discovered when one lets go of oneself, of what is too rigid and formulaic, of, perhaps, what’s is too real, and uncovers the myth of old. This is a point when the art becomes the artist and the artist becomes the art. Bao Tram is the art that she portrays.
Bao Tram’s family immigrated to the United States in the late 80s from Vietnam. Her father, though an artist himself by trade, had to face the reality of his new life and the challenges of making a living to support his family. Perhaps this experience influences him to advise Bao Tram to pursue a career in the healthcare field for a more stable occupation. However, from a young age, Bao Tram developed a strong interest in art. This visceral attraction would eventually serve as a focus of strength to guide her through future turbulent moments in her life. She first painted from instinct without any formal training, and it was already evident that there was an undeniable talent waiting to blossom. Subsequently, at Portland State University, she and obtained her art degree. Her professor would endow her with a loving but elucidating title – “an abuser of colors”.
Bao Tram focuses on abstract art. She confides she yearns to escape the rigidity of life, lines, and languid shapes and forms. She wants to visit the crevices of imagination and explore the infinitude of abstraction where art meets the soul, where she would have a tryst with spirituality. In contrast to her gentle figure, her strokes are strong and definite. The paint wanders across the canvas seemingly aimlessly but somehow eventually creating an uncertain purpose. The paradox that one has to understand to feel comfortable with. As it is in the nature of abstract art that the viewer is free to imagine, to envision the subjects, to reveal hidden story – that, in itself, is art.
“To see art one needs to become a child again, to rid our soul of its acquired sufferings.” – Dr. Dang Duong