Channeling struggles into art

Categories: Other
HNin Nie. Photo by Alex Cason.
By Page Leggett

There’s an intriguing duality in HNin Nie’s paintings. Underneath the rainbow colors, the whimsy and happy-cartoony feel, there’s something deeper. “Usually there is a narrative under the layers of bright colors,” she says.

Her new series, Post Feels, is an exploratory study of human emotions. Her character, Negative Nancy, is a stand-in for Hnin, who channels her struggles into art. It’s easier to be vulnerable when it’s your alter ego showing the emotion. 

HNin admires Keith Haring and says, “His work shared a positive message through colorful imagery.” It was more than just “doodles and graffiti,” she says. “He wanted his work accessible to the public, which is inspiring because art should be accessible.”

HNin is excited that ASC’s CSA program will make her work accessible to even more people.

Born in Vietnam of Montagnard Dega ethnicity and raised in Charlotte, HNin uses primarily paint in her work, but she experiments with sculpture using wood and papier mâché. She works in photography and film, too.

“I grew up crafting projects,” she says. She has a memory from kindergarten of “dressing up in painted overalls on career day to show I was a painter.”

When she turns on music in her studio, it’s as likely to be an instrumental as it is 1970s funk.

HNin often listens to podcasts while painting: “It feels like a conversation.”