artist binh pho

woodturning by binh phoBinh Pho (1955 - 2017) was a critically acclaimed artist, known for an expansive approach to work in wood and glass that included painting and a unique exploration of positive and negative space. His works featured a highly personal iconography, with imagery that relates to Asian culture and the natural world. The story of his journey from an idyllic childhood in Vietnam to the rise of Communism and his escape to the United States was shared in the book River of Destiny: The Life and Work of Binh Pho, published in 2006 in conjunction with a retrospective of his work at the Long Beach Museum of Art. In 2013, Binh Pho collaborated with Kevin Wallace on the new project, Shadow of The Turning, which focused on art, philosophy and storytelling. An entirely fictional story, the book blended the mythic worlds of fairy tale, fantasy, romance and adventure, creating a bridge between literature, art world approaches to concept and narrative, and craft traditions. The story was illustrated using an exciting new body of work by Binh Pho, which combined woodturning, sculpture, painting and art glass.

As Shadow of The Turning traveled across the country as an exhibition at major museums, Binh was interviewed for a PBS documentary, as part of the American Experience Series. Last Days in Vietnam, directed by Rory Kennedy, featured extensive interviews with Binh and was nominated for an Academy Award. Attending the awards ceremony with Kennedy and Stu Harrington, a US Army officer in charge of the evacuation of the Vietnamese Embassy during the Fall of Saigon, was truly an American Dream.

Binh Pho's work is exhibited internationally and in the permanent collection of numerous museums including The White House Collection, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian of American Art, and Museum of Art and Design (NY).

For more information about Binh Pho, please contact:

shadow of the turning and river of destiny

Binh's work is featured in two books, created in collaboration with writer and curator Kevin Wallace. The first, River of Destiny, features autobiographical works and shares his life from growing up in Vietnam, through finding freedom in the US and becoming an artist. The second, Shadow of the Turning, is an exploration of art, myth and philosophy, drawing upon diverse genres and media to bring the viewer into a fascinating literary adventure.

Binh is also a well-known demonstrator and instructor internationally, and has created high-quality instructional wood turning and embellishment DVDs.

Get the Book

Dream - Transform - Live

Shadow of the Turning, like its predecessor (River of Destiny), focuses on art, philosophy and storytelling, yet is an entirely fictional story, blending the mythic worlds of fairy tale, fantasy, adventure and science fiction. Follow the link to see more about Shadow of The Turning.

Learn More

artist woodturning

binh pho on wikipedia
Binh Pho (1955 - 2017) was a Vietnamese-American artist best known for his pierced and painted works in wood. Read more about Binh’s interesting life and his journey to becoming a prominent world renowned artist on his Wikipedia page.


To Be or Not To Be

Life is filled with wonder. Some things happen for a reason, yet they’re not always as they appear to be. A good thing may be not all good and bad thing may not be all bad. Life and death, success and failure, love and loss, all present an endless cycle of all things in the balance of Yin and Yang.

When I missed the last helicopter at the American Embassy during the Fall of Saigon, I thought that was a worst day of my life. As the future unfolded, I found it was a good thing that had happened to me. The helicopter is represented by the metal part of this work, cast in bronze, providing negative space for the dragonfly, which represents the organic part – turned, textured, and painted on maple. The two halves can be presented as a bowl with endless possibilities in life, or can be detached, forming the sculpture as we want it to be. In a way, it also resembles a boat such as the one that helped me to achieve the American Dream.

Directed and Produced by Rory Kennedy for the American Experience/PBS
Appearance by Binh Pho