Love, skill and passion: How each of Xuan My Ho’s mosaics tell their own stories

STORY BY AVNI RAJAGOPAL, PHOTOS BY TOMOKI CHIEN

Every mosaic that artist Xuan My Ho creates tells a story, using vibrant colors and unusual yet fitting materials to add depth and dimension to her art. Ho is featured this month in The Main Gallery’s Light Play exhibit. The show, which runs from Oct. 5 to Nov. 21, focuses on light and the way it interacts with the art on display.

In her art, Ho utilizes unique materials like buttons, coral, and metal to give what would be flat wall hangings another dimension, using this skill to portray light in her works.

“​​I use different kinds of materials and different thickness in order to show the three dimensions of the piece,” Ho said.

This can be seen in her work “Ballerina,” where Ho used seashells to imitate the texture of a ballerina’s skirt. Another example of her use of texture is in her abstract piece, “Circle of Thought,” in which she layers aluminum ceramic in a circular pattern. 

Ho grew up in Vietnam, where art education was not emphasized in her school curriculum. After living in a refugee camp for six months, Ho moved to Arkansas, then California. On a trip to Barcelona, Ho fell in love with mosaics and discovered her hidden skill for creating them when she took a class in college.

“I fell in love with it,” Ho said. “I worked on mosaics every night after work and on weekends, just going nuts with it.”

Ho continued to hone her skills, learning more professional mosaic techniques. Soon, she was putting her skills to use in the Kingsman Art Fair, where she was shocked to see Neil Young purchase one of her pieces. Ho said that motivated her to continue to pursue her passion in mosaics.

Ho now participates in many art shows and galleries, one of which is The Main Gallery. As a featured artist for this month’s show, Ho is displaying pieces that she thinks best represent her skill for creating three-dimensional wall hangings that tell a story.

“My mosaics tend to tell the story of the things that I want to describe,” Ho said.

An example of such a story is in her work “Fields Of Joy,” in which two African women are portrayed carrying baskets of water as they dance through a field. Ho feels that this piece, along with the others she’s selected for her feature wall, accurately combines light and playfulness, in accordance with the theme of the exhibit. 

With this exhibit, Ho is excited to put on display her love for mosaics through a wide selection of her pieces.

“I found that I have … not only the love, but also the skills and also the passions,” Ho said. “So that’s why all of my art shows my love there.”

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