We had the good fortune of connecting with Debbie Vu and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Debbie, why did you pursue a creative career?
I choose to pursue an artistic career because I wanted to succeed in an unconventional field. My parents are the traditional Asian parents and their idea of success followed what they think to be conventional thinking in terms that success as being a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer. But I hope to show them that someone can be successful in a field that is unconventional, I hope to become a successful artist/gallerist. I was also inspired by my educational upbringing I was supported by my high school art teacher who was supportive in my work and helped foster my practical art skills and helped to develop my opinions on art. In addition, I wanted a career that involved working with my hands to create rather than working at a desk for a 9 to 5.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I feel like what sets me apart from others is my ability to bring people together and plan. I am always excited to get a random group of people together and create something from nothing whether it’s a joint business venture, a non-profit organization, or a collaborative art piece. I am most excited about starting my fabrication company with fellow UH graduates Catherine Martinez and Michelle Vo. This fabrication company will be run by women to provide the city of Houston and the art scene with well-crafted objects and provide a communal workspace for artists. Business-wise I feel as though I am still in the works, for my larger career goals I am still putting those on hold while I am getting my masters. I am currently trying to get my business off the ground, by trying to find clients and getting work time in the studios. I do not think my business adventure is easy, I think the hardest part of starting my business besides generating capital was the process of starting a business. I feel like starting a business is always hard no matter who you are but starting is always the first and hardest step. I feel like to overcome this, you need to create a business plan and generate enough sheer willpower to execute and ignore the constant urge to procrastinate. Some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way are, say yes but be wary of over-promising, always do a SWOT analysis of yourself and your competitors, and make sure to have everything in writing. Trust me this will come in handy more times than you think. I want the world to know that I am not just an artist, I am also a future business leader and as cliche, as it sounds, a product of immigrants.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend came to Houston for a week I would want to take them around the entire city and sort of give them a sensory and activity overload while they are in the city. Monday – On Monday since they just got to the city, I would want to do some of the more cliche activities and take them shopping at Memorial City Mall and the Galleria mall, give them a chance to explore some of the shopping in the major stores before moving onto Montrose and doing some thrift shopping before having dinner at Ramen Tatsuya. Tuesday – On Tuesday I would really enjoy taking them to a park and just taking the time to enjoy the scenery in Houston whether it’s Terry Hershey Park or Memorial Hermann Park. If we were to go to Terry Hershey Park in the morning and walk the 6 mile trail, afterward we would go to nearby City Center and enjoy some food and drinks there as well as getting dinner from Izakaya Wa. If we were to go to Memorial Hermann Park I would want to walk the trails there, visit the Japanese garden, as well as the Centennial Garden, and the Jones Reflection Pool. If there is time that I would also want to go to the Houston Zoo and get dinner at Gunso Japanese Kitchen Wednesday – On Wednesday I wanted to take them on a bike tour of the public art in downtown. Starting with brunch at the Breakfast Klub and from there biking or driving through downtown the Houston Mural Map to explore the various murals spread out throughout the downtown area and also see the large public art installations. For lunch I was thinking of spending some time in Market Square Park and getting a quick bite to eat from the small Niko Nikos and continuing our biking tour. For dinner I was hoping to go to Turkey Leg hut. Thursday – On Thursday I would take them on an all-day trip to downtown, starting with a small lunch at either Pit Room or Bodegas Tacos then museum hopping throughout the day starting with the Museum of Natural History (since it’s free on Thursday), then moving onto the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Menil Collection. At the end of the day we would get dinner and drinks at 93 Til. Friday – On Friday I would take them on an all day food crawl of Bellaire. Some of the spots I would want to take them to include ramen at Tiger Den, drinks at Ohn Korean Eatery, udon at Napa Udon House and Wine Bar, ice cream from either Red Circle or Aqua S, and just give them a chance to explore all that Bellaire has to offer in terms of food and shopping. Saturday – On Saturday I was hoping for a chance to explore the Heights, getting brunch at Egghaus and spending the day exploring the shops and art installations in True North. For dinner possibly some German food and giant boots of beer from King Bierhaus followed by either ax throwing or unlimited board games at Tea and Victory. Sunday – On Sunday since I took them to all the places I thought they would enjoy I would want them to make some suggestions to be about other places they want to visit before they leave.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Hoang Le – Helped me develop a more critical understanding of Art Francis Giampietro – Helped me to develop a strong understanding of craft and advised me on every single one of my sculptures Joshua Johnson – My partner in crime that had my back every step of the way

Instagram: @art_dtv

Image Credits
Joshua Johnson (Image of Artist working)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.