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Check out Khoi Dao’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Khoi Dao.

Khoi, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I’m Khoi, but I prefer to be called Koi, everybody calls me koifish for good luck. I am 25 yrs. old and I am a fashion, portrait and beauty photographer based in Houston, TX. I am currently attending University of Houston and I’m majoring in Digital Media. I have been doing photography for 4 years. I started learning about cameras and photography in high school as part of Yearbook crew and I picked up my first Canon as part of my assignment to go and photograph athletes for school tournaments, one reason to skip school and have fun with my friends when I get the chance to. I did not like it at first because at the time I thought it was boring, so right after I graduated high school,

I went to New Mexico with my Boy Scout troop and start capturing scenery on the mountains as I hiked to one of the most gorgeous places in NM. After that trip, I enlisted in the Army, I’ve been serving for 6 years, right after boot camp, I invested in a Canon T3i (cropped sensor camera) I guess I could put it into point and shoot camera. I went out and captured my friends and play around with it, I begin to dive into fashion with my best friend, Julie. She has the most gorgeous face around so I started to take pictures of her every weekend or whenever I can. With that comes with fashion, Julie would have dressed up, put on some makeups and we went out to take pictures around where we live.

I’m doing that for one year and then I wanted to get serious with my true passion as a fashion photographer so I went and did an interview with Neal Hamil Agency, I showed the creative director; Jennifer Molleda; my portfolio. She took me under her wings and showed me how to photograph models for test shoot and I’ve been doing ever since. Currently I’m researching and learning how to be a retouched for photographers, every day I’m falling in love with photography more and more, this is my true passion to express my creative mind in this industry. I used to draw hyper realistic portraits but I shifted into photography as a different medium blending my artistic skill merging both areas into one and make art out of it. So that’s what I’ve been doing ever since, just study more about the industry, the technical side of photography and try to expand my portfolio to a whole new level.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My photography is all about high fashion mixed with implied nudity with a touch of creative art. I want Houston to be known for something. I want to see more of strange but fun and tasteful art in magazines around local Houston stands or stores. I used studio to shoot models most of the time. I think because I love to control lighting, change the tone and colors with gel lights and make out something people have never seen before. My message that I want people to see my art is there is no limitation in fashion photography, each image contains its own message. I tend to edit each photo with its own meaning, but also depends on my mood. With today’s society, it’s a strong in demand job, you have to have your work deliver fast but with quality, that’s what I push for but I strongly against it because I love taking my time to perfect my work. I might have an idea for one image but I can easily change my mind the next day. I’m one of those that never satisfied with my work, it’s really rare that I do. My goal is to inspire and change people’s minds about Houston fashion scene, I could go in depth about this topic all day but I’d rather digress. Maybe what I’m trying to say is my fashion photography style is very edgy, high fashion, tasteful nudity and mixed with creative art. I just love messing with Photoshop so that’s why you’ll get to see a lot of strange edits or cool effects or colors to my portfolio.

The sterotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
It’s true that fashion photography is not for everyone, it’s a real hustle, I grind every day, I learn and learn more and more about the art every single day. With that comes with a lot of practices and learning as I go. It’s not like an assembly line that you do it over and over and understand it completely. There are many trials and errors to get far in this industry. Many young fashion photographers like me sacrificed a lot of money to bring in new art and struggle to find a way to make a living, it’s not like we’re already have a support system behind us from the get go. But I do have to say that if you have a heart for it, you will get far with this art form if you truly believe in what you can do and make a change in this world. One of the phrases I still remembered from one of my dear teacher; who passed away from cancer, she always said: “Patience is a virtue”. I remind myself every day that be patient and someone will come along and pick you up from there, but with that being said it does not mean that I can just be lazy and let Jesus takes the wheel, I have to work hard for it and earn it with my sweat and tears in order to make it happen.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
People can check out my work on Instagram: @koidphoto. I don’t have a lot of following because I don’t think or sure if Houston is my audience, or maybe Houston is not ready to face the raw and real art form of true fashion photography. Not just yet.

I usually get support from a group of artists in Houston called Strut. They’re my friends and they always refer models for me to shoot or plan concepts with me. As much as I want the support I need, I don’t think many people with conservative minds would be really interest in my work here.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
1. Model: Brandon Ogle
2. Model: Hannah Medcraft, MUA: Jenny, Stylist: Greg M.
3. Model: Kaitin Siebert, MUA: Jessica Ann
4. Model: Zachary Greenbauer
5. Model: Sarah Wohlschlaeger, MUA: Jessica Ann, Stylist: Monique Beasley
6. Model: Logan Moss
7. Model: Gabriel Sarduy
8. Model: Johnny Phillips

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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