Henriette Arvin chose a unique topic for her master’s thesis: replica art. Unlike most graduate students who let their final essays gather dust on university library bookshelves, Arvin has turned hers into a tangible business venture with storefronts in Denmark and now Vancouver. Her company Revival Art produces top-quality replicas of the works of Old Masters, as well as Vietnamese abstracts and personal portraits. How are these amazing replicas produced? In chaotic Ho Chi Minh City, Arvin employs a fleet of Vietnamese artists who possess deftness of a neurosurgeon and a keen eye for duplication. So far, business is booming. It seems some people like the idea of knowing they will sip their morning coffee under the impenetrable gaze of the Mona Lisa.
In January, photographer Tony Girardin travelled to Ho Chi Minh City as Arvin was busy preparing her studio for the launch of the Vancouver storefront. Please browse the multimedia gallery to your right to view his tour of Arvin’s facility—and watch the new masters at work.