Dozens of years ago, Phuong said, when techniques and technology were not yet developed customers commissioned him to draw on boards the addresses and advertisements of products for their shops, or logos of their companies. Carrying a painting kit, Phuong walked through all corners of the city, its districts and suburban areas, despite the harsh weather.
Nguyen The Minh, pen-named Hoai Minh Phuong, who is now living on An Duong Vuong street, Tan Binh district
in Ho Chi Minh City is one of very few painters producing their posters by hand.Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP
In recent years, people have preferred electronic sign boards to painted ones, so Phuong’s job has become less needed. However, the old painter has tried to maintain his work, although his current customers are only those who have admired the talented painter’s skill, which is plain, yet full of artistic value. Those customers asked Phuong to make unique sign boards for their shops, which would be quite different from those made with high-tech means. In addition, they also show their admiration of the talented old painter, who is friendly and kind. While working, Phuong used to recite poems or tell stories relating to ethics to his customers, which are especially useful for the young ones.
Apart from painting, Phuong also loves poems, something he has been interested in since his childhood. Upon a customer’s request, he loved to paint some lines of poems he composed.
Before finishing a product, Phuong often covers it with an anti-rust paint, which helps protect the board for a longer time, some lasting seven years. After doing that, if the colour on the board’s surface is fading, he can wash it, then paint it with a new cover.
Of his three sons, only the second, Nguyen The Quang, has followed his career to paint sign boards and advertisement posters by hand.