Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Dreams of place are prevalent in Song Yer Thao’s artwork. His conceptual maps embody feelings, identity, reality, and experience beyond just a geographic space. The paintings combine the elegance of sweeping watercolor-like blends with the emotions of abstraction. They are vaguely reminiscent of the traditional Hmong needlepoint cloth, pan dau, which tells stories in pictures.

Song is one of the lucky ones. He has always been attracted to creative activities. His family’s journey to America was challenging. During his Junior year at Gustavus Adophus College he studied abroad and discovered that the life of the artist was his path. He switched from Engineering to Studio Arts major and has subsequently graduated from MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design) with an MFA and someday will obtain a Ph.D. His day job is a middle-school art teacher and then he ventures into studio to create until the wee hours. During the summer he coaches youth tennis and wins adult tournaments.

Mr. Thao’s family is very supportive of his endeavors. It’s delicate balancing responsibility of a long-established family and succeeding in an urban setting. Being bi-cultural is push-pull and pursuing a career as an artist adds complications. He serves as a positive role model to his siblings, nieces, nephews, extended family, and community.

Looking at clouds, different people see diverse images in the same billowy forms. “Abstraction is not about the how as it comes together technically. It is about how it interacts emotionally. What does it mean?” summerized Song. Cartology has layers of meaning, as does his artwork. Colors and design elements offer insight into how the artist wants the viewer to react intellectually and spiritually. The world according to Song Thao is dualistic, both chaotic and quiet.

He can be reached at www.songyerthao.com or 651-210-9715. Song’s studio is located at in the Q. Arma Building, 1224 Quincy Street NE #120, Minneapolis, MN 55413. Call to make an appointment. He was the Best In Show recipient for the 2012 Art-A-Whirl. Let Song know that you read about him in this blog. Photos feature his recent work, I apologize for the grey space interruping the image - I'll try to fix it (problem with Blogger.com).

Seeking clouds of abstraction.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing

No comments: