Vietnamese painter of Trump art diversifies

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Tran Lam Binh poses for a photo with part of his art creations of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)
Tran Lam Binh poses for a photo with part of his art creations of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)

Hanoi, Vietnam (AP) — The stereotype of artists as eccentric is a common one, and the work of Vietnamese artist Tran Lam Binh seems to support that view. Since 2015 he has turned out painting after painting of Donald Trump. Many were on show last week in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, where Trump was holding a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Binh has also fashioned a statue of the American president that’s almost 2 meters (6½ feet) tall, more or less life size.

Don’t assume Binh is single-minded, however.

In 2017, he began diversifying his portfolio of roughly 50 depictions of Trump by painting portraits of Kim Jong Un as well.

So last week was kind of a perfect storm for 36-year-old Binh with his two favorite subjects coming to his homeland to discuss peace on the Korean Peninsula.

To mark the event, Binh created 10 pop-art portraits of Trump and Kim on canvas and paper in bright pink, blue, orange and yellow colors decorated with hearts and the words “Love” and “Peace.”

Binh said he won’t sell the portraits and instead will keep them as a souvenir of the historic event. He may not be turning a profit, but has been reaping a motherlode of publicity as the summit brought foreign and local media in droves to see him and his work.

Binh started painting Trump portraits in 2015 when the American real estate mogul launched his campaign for the presidency. After Trump’s election victory, Binh staged an exhibition of his works on a sidewalk near the White House.

Binh’s style, with garish colors and casual brush strokes, somewhat recalls the paintings of Canadian comedian Jim Carrey, another Trump obsessive.

Tran Lam Binh puts the final touches to his portrait of U.S. President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)
Tran Lam Binh puts the final touches to his portrait of U.S. President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)

Carrey’s barbed caricatures, posted on the internet, make no secret of the fact that he is a fierce critic of Trump and his politics.

Binh, on the other hand, is a fan.

“I liked his expression when he was running for president,” Binh said. “He seemed like the world’s most contemporary artwork. He’s at a relatively advanced age, but very youthful, dynamic, fashionable and with inner strength that shows the greatness of a man who can change the world — and so I began my paintings.”