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Notable figures a trademark of Colligo Studio

The Fresno Arts Council sponsors ArtHop, an event which educates the community about the local arts. In this column, freshman Ryan King chronicles his twice-a-month visits to ArtHop.

Invited to this weeks ArtHop, I was eager to see the artwork of Colligo Studio, February’s South event. Established in 2008 in Downtown Fresno, the gallery, at first glance, was covered with different types of art, which made it intriguing from the start.

Colligo Studio is managed by founder Ma Ly, and is located inside Fresno’s Broadway Studios. Ly was born in Laos, but moved to France during the Vietnam War because of his Hmong origin. After living in France for 32 years, he settled in Clovis, CA, where he started his art career in the U.S. with the founding of his studio.

Along with portraits, Ly is an art instructor at Michaels, teaching different types of media which include landscape, seascape, floral and still life. He teaches all levels of skill for teens and up and his classes are usually around two hours. Additionally, Ly’s classes are available to take at home and at the Fresno Adult School.

Though Ly was not able to come to this ArtHop, I met his wife May Lee, who gave me an inside-look into his art. Ly has been a realist artist since 2007.

Ly’s artwork is unique because he mostly draws portraits of people, rather than landscape. He is known to paint notable individuals, which can include historical political figures, celebrities and athletes. I admire Ly’s ability to draw people, as it still retains a creative perspective because of the detailed surroundings he adds into the background.

One of the portraits Ly created was of the deceased General Vang Pao, a CIA agent, Vietnam Veteran and Uncle of Ly. Pao’s family asked Ly to paint the portrait in memory; the landscape of the work was filled with mountains.

Along with this feature, Ly has been highlighted on Dr. Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Day at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The piece showcased was a portrait of MLK and his wife standing together in front of a crowd.

Though he is generally known for his portraits, Ly also paints a number of miscellaneous works, which can range from landscapes to murals. Though he paints portraits of important people, Ly also works on commissioned portraits of children and adults.

Ly plans to further exhibit his art in the coming years through various museums in order to receive more recognition.

I enjoyed Ly’s art thoroughly because most of his pieces are recognizable, featuring athletes, celebrities and political figures that most people know. Since I see these people in the media, I remember the art much more than any other piece

Overall, the gallery was amazing. Each picture captured my eye to the recognizable foreground and then drew me into the detailed background. Its surroundings were precise and carefully drawn, which made all of his portraits wonderful works of art. I was extremely pleased with my visit and will certainly be following up on Ly’s career in the years to come.

For more information on ArtHop, read the Jan. 31 article,
Boling Fine Arts features unorthodox displays.

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