Saigon Artbook is a quarterly publication that catalogs the work of three artists who live in the Saigon area, in the hope of promoting innovative and undiscovered artists. With each catalog, Saigon Artwork hosts a party where people can come to meet the artists and enjoy their work. For more information, visit Saigon Artbook Webpage.
The third Saigon Artbook, held on 24 and 25 April at 2 Le Cong Kieu Street, District 1 in Saigon, attracted a huge number of spectators and fans to the illustrations of Kristopher Kotcher (Frenemy), Khoa Le and Laurent Judge. Strong interest during the first two Artbooks had prompted the organizers to hold the third Artbook over two days. Given the success, they may have to extend future events even further.
The exhibition was only open to people who had registered online for a limited number of free tickets, but such was the interest that all tickets had been claimed within the first half-hour! This proved the effectiveness of Saigon Artbook’s viral marketing.
With each ticket, a person was given two coupons: one for a bottle of Peroni beer and one for the beautifully designed book featuring artworks of the three artists – the main reason most people come to the quarterly exhibition.
Two coupons were used to exchange for one Peroni and one artbook copy
The building that Saigon Artbook chose was a run-down, old-style house on Le Cong Kieu Street in District 1. They had spent several days painting and decorating it, and I was surprised at how they virtually turned it into a new house.
Frenemy Artwork on the rooftop
On the first floor, right after a typically French, narrow stairway, was a big room with a yellowish wall offset by windows painted red. This provided a good background for the artworks.
Most people could lurk around this exhibition area, have a chat, exchange their coupons for a beer and the book, and of course talk to the artists.
Each artist had their own ways to express their skills and artistic sense. Kristopher (or Frenemy) occasionally chose a random wall to draw on. Khoa Le created an awesome body-painting on a female model. Meanwhile, Laurent was busy signing fans’ books – well, he not only signed but drew: every single one of his signatures was an artwork in itself.
Laurent's signature (I think this one is specially for me!)
Frenemy was busy with his iconic cartoon creatures
The second floor was the rooftop where people could enjoy the DJ’s performance and watch Khoa Le’s body-painting model (many guys took photos with her as well). This was a great place for people to relax in the fresh air while sipping Peroni beer and having a good chat with new friends.
I went to the last two Saigon Artbook parties but this one was the biggest and it just keeps growing. I really look forward to introducing my foreign friends to this must-see event in Saigon.
City Pass Guide caught up with the three illustrators:
From left: Frenemy, Khoa Le and Laurent
City Pass Guide: Could you define your style in one sentence?
Frenemy: Cartoonist, colorful with a mixture of graffiti. Khoa Le: Pop-surrealism meets illustration. Laurent: Many, many styles mixed together but mainly impressionism and surrealism, I think.
CPG:What is your source of inspiration?
Frenemy: From the cartoons and comic books that I watched and read when I was a kid. I have read a couple of manga titles before but never get into it much because I don’t like the style. Khoa Le: From many things, music, film, cartoons, books, novels, magazines, etc. I particularly listen to Radiohead and Muse. Laurent: I basically read, watch and observe whatever exists around us.
CPG:What is your favourite artwork out of all the ones displayed here today? And why?
Frenemy: Each of my artworks communicates a different message and has its own beauty and characteristics. It would be unfair if I favour this over that. Khoa Le: It would be my “Deep Sleep”. It completes my satisfaction. Laurent: It is “Lightning Bolt” because it comprises many styles: impressionism, surrealism, cubism, etc. I also have all the times and a huge variety of objects combined altogether. Its details are so rich that one can easily get lost while looking at the piece.Deep Sleep by Khoa Le