HCM CITY — While Viet Nam has a rich rice culture, the art of paintings made of rice is still in its infancy.
The Tranh Gao Thai Hoang company started four years ago with a single mission: to make rice painting popular in Viet Nam, and introduce it to the world.
Born and raised in Dong Nai, Hoang Minh Thai has a strong passion for the arts, especially rice paintings. After graduating from the HCM City University of Arts, Thai took a designer job at an advertising company.
But he continued to work on rice paintings in his free time and made them to order.
Although his job paid well, after two years, he quit to work fulltime to make rice paintings. His business began locally in Dong Nai with a small profit over three years.
His shop in his hometown of Dong Nai was the only one of its kind.
With a strong sense of entrepreneurship, Thai knew he would not succeed if he did not have the time to conduct research on how to improve his technique.
Struggling to make ends meet, the first year was quite hard for him. Most of the orders came from friends and acquaintances.
Thai also reached out to potential customers through arts conventions, but was not successful.
Three years went by, and his business was struggling. In the middle of 2013, he was advised to use Google Adwords to help customers find his site where over 75 per cent of his sales originate.
Within six months, Adwords helped create a new market for his products in HCM City.
In the beginning, he used very simple techniques that he had learned at school. He used different shades of gray-coloured fried rice and homemade glue to put them in either horizontal or vertical lines.
Today, his rice paintings are one of a kind thanks to the new technique he developed in-house. His products vary from portraits, religious paintings, landscapes and more.
Thai believes that his products will be popular, but more importantly, he says he is interested in introducing Viet Nam’s rich art culture to friends and art lovers worldwide.