Pipo Nguyen-duy was born in Hue, Vietnam. Growing up within thirty kilometers of the demilitarized zone of the 18th Parallel, he describes hearing gunfire every day of his early life He immigrated to the United States as a political refugee.
Pipo has taken on many things in life in pursuit of his diverse interests. As a teenager in Vietnam, he competed as a national athlete in table tennis. He also spent some time living as a Buddhist monk in Northern India. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics at Carleton College. He then moved to New York City, where he worked as a bartender and later as a nightclub manager. While living in the East Village and meeting people such as musician Don Cherry and artist Keith Haring, Pipo interests turned to art. He earned a Master of Arts in Photography, followed by a Master of Fine Arts in Photography, both from the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque.
Pipo has received many awards and grants including a Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography, a National Endowment for the The Arts, an En Foco Grant; a Professional Development Grant from the College Arts Association; an American Photography Institute’s National Graduate Fellowship, NYC; a fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission in Salem, Oregon; a B. Wade and Jane B. White Fellowship in the Humanities at Oberlin College; and two Individual Artists Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council in Columbus, Ohio. He participated as an artist-in-residence at Monet’s Garden through The Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Artists at Giverny Fellowship, at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California, in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program.
He has lectured widely and his work has been exhibited and are in public collections in the United States, Europe and Asia . He is represented by Sam Lee Gallery in Los Angeles, California.
Pipo is a Professor teaching photography at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio.
Flanagan, Emily, "Pipo Nguyen-Duy interview" (2014). Asian American Art Oral History Project. 69.