"The Street Sense Project"
December 5, 2013–January 6, 2014
Thien-Kim Pham, Long Night at the Soup Kitchen, charcoal on canvas, 36" x 60"
Artist Thien-Kim Pham captures the emotions and personalities of the many faces who call the streets home in her somber, charcoal drawings on canvas. “The Street Sense Project,” on display December 5, 2013–January 6, 2014, forces the viewer to contemplate the lives of street workers and dwellers through large-scale portraits.
Pham has experienced the pain of those living on the street within her own family. As a result, she began to build relationships with many street-workers (some homeless, some not), to learn their stories and create their portraits as a way to call attention to the many individuals in this situation.
By working on canvas, with nothing separating the viewer from the portrait, viewers are forced to confront and acknowledge the individual in front of them. Pham focuses on the face and figure while blurring the background, a symbolic choice. She chooses to work in charcoal to try and recreate the gritty, somber feeling these people experience in their daily lives.
“The number of individuals who live these lives has increased, yet they often remain invisible to us… existing faintly in the background of our daily lives,” notes Pham.
As a way to support the people she has met and come to care about through this project, a portion of sales will be donated to a local charity related to the subject matter depicted in the piece. Shepherd's Table, Wilkins Avenue Women's Assessment Center/Interfaith Works, Street Sense, SOHO, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Orchkids, American Indian Relief Council, and National Alliance on Mental Illness Maryland are the organizations Pham is supporting.
Pham currently resides in Silver Spring, MD. She first studied music at the Saigon Conservatory of Music in Vietnam at a young age, but also had a passion for art. In 1995, Pham began studying art while attending the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. In 2004, she became a full-time artist and went on to study with various local and nationally known artists, including Rob Liberace at The Art League. Pham has won many awards, including three Caruso Awards at the Maryland Federation of Arts and Best in Show at The Art League. Her work was published in 2004 by International Artist Publishing in a book titled, “How Did You Paint That? 100 Ways to Paint People.”
Exhibition Dates: December 5, 2013 – January 6, 2014
Opening Reception & Meet the Artists: Thursday, December 12, 2013, 6:30-8:00 pm