World Painter Lap Ngo from Vietnam, Paris, Africa & Texas What A Journey
Always Art From A Child Coloring on the Floor in Laos to Retirement in Allen, TX
World Painter Lap Ngo has had an awesome and amazing journey across numerous continents.
Lap grew up in Vietnam during some turbulent times but art was his passion and he knew from childhood that he wanted to draw and be an artist. He would color on the floor with chalk.
He also loved cowboy culture. When the Western movies from Hollywood like Hop Along Cassidy, Lone Ranger, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, would come to town, he would cry until his father took him and his brothers and sisters to see them.
His family fled as refuges from North Vietnam and eventually settled in Laos where he finished high school and continued to pursue his art. He studied with other artists and had them critique his work so that he could get better. He also studied many techniques and produced his own show to raise money to go to art school in Paris.
Just before leaving Laos for France to go to the famous Boigi, he met Peggy, a beautiful Japanese American girl from Hawaii, who was working with the State Department. She had come to the show just before he was closing. She decided to have a portrait painted and this blossomed into romance. They fell in love, had a daughter and lived and traveled all over the world together.
Lap studied painting for four years in Paris learning all the styles of the Masters, visiting Art Museums around Europe. He loved the Danish, Spanish, and other European artists and learned the techniques of Monet, Renault, Finish
He spent four more years studying printmaking which he uses today when he paints on wood, metal and other surfaces along with the standard surfaces like canvas and linen.
He has an aptitude for languages and loves to explore different cultures not only for their art, but their food, music and traditions. He became fluent in French and managed to go to the Conservatory and study and play the Violin along with his art degree––so his accomplishments extend beyond the world of art. He taught violin lessons to children in Paris to subsidize his art studies.
Since Lap could paint and teach music or language anywhere, Peggy continued her work with the State Department where they traveled all over the world. Then they were assigned to work in Africa and another love was born.
Africa: A 30 Year Love Affair
While Peggy worked for the State Department, Lap taught children of Diplomats. He was teaching his own daughter so it was easy to include the other children. Lap taught French and art and often found himself teaching adults as well.
When not teaching Lap would explore the countryside or travel to different parts of Africa to gain inspiration for his art. “It is such a huge continent and has everything, mountains, jungles, desserts, plains, animals and cultures, from big cities with many people to small tribal communities that haven’t changed their lifestyle in hundreds of years,” he explained.
Lap takes hundreds of photographs, makes numerous sketches and when he can, he breaks out his brushes and paints and works onsite. He also learned as much as he could from the locals about how they mixed their dies to create color, he watched as they used mud and plants and other things from nature because their wasn’t a local art store on the corner selling those supplies.
“It was a wonderful experience and I never had in trouble,” Lap said. “I am a very open person I wanted to learn their language, their culture, their way of doing things so that I could understand and include that emotion and mystical extra into my paintings. I don’t paint the image but the essence or soul of the image.”
They developed many friendships and found other artists, chefs and musicians among the employees and families.
They basically had their own small communities and often had dinner parties where those with musical talent entertained the rest of those in attendance. That is where Lap and Peggy met the Howard’s another couple that they reconnected with when they retired. Ms. Howard played the flute and often joined Lap for impromptu concerts.
Retiring to Texas
This spry couple move to Allen, Texas to be closer to Lap’s family he has three brothers and a sister who live in Texas. After arriving in Texas, Lap decided to look in the State Department
Directory to see if there was anyone they knew living in Texas and he found their friends the Howard’s. They immediately invited Peggy and Lap to join them in Ozona in South Texas.
Peggy has recently passed away so Lap has made his home a Gallery by hanging his hundreds of paintings in the living room, dining room, kitchen, bedrooms and even the bathrooms.
He continues to teach young up and coming artists the many techniques he learned throughout his studies, travels and teachings.