Hi Tran, thank you so much for letting me to feature on this site. I do have a few questions to ask you and let's start with this one. What made you want to become an illustrator?
I think it was built in me to pursue a creative endeavor, but for the sake of the question, I would say the really awesome cartoons (Samurai Pizza Cat, Busy World of Richard Scarry), concept art (Final Fantasy) and Anime from when I was a toddler.
I am always a fan of the Final Fantasy concept arts and I actually wanted to be an illustrator too but this dream did not last too long. So, if you could only use 3 words to describe your works, what would they be? Why?
Fantastical, peculiar, and surreal -- it's everything you would find impossible/improbable in this world.
Surreal is definitely the word I have in mind when I look at your works. I realize your works always have more than just one layer (i.e geometric shapes, architecture), how did you come up with this style? Is there a purpose/statement behind this style?
I gained a lot of insight from Old Masters such as Gustav Klimt as well as new ones and how they conceptualized their bizarre narratives. Juxtaposing the two styles help further my painting's surreal essence. Also, by rendering each asset so that they appear sensible within the same plane, creates a more engaging image.
Your style always makes me brain want to dig deep to your images and find a way to connect all the layers together. I have to say your style has created a very good exercise for my brain. Now I am curious, may you describe your workflow to my readers? Do you have specific habits when you are working on a piece?
I usually work on several paintings simultaneously. It's easy to bore yourself when working on the same piece for a straight 2 weeks so switching it up stimulates the mind. As for habits, I spend way too much time on detailing the face. Nowadays, to be more efficient it's the last thing I paint.
I think a lot of artists like to spend more time to draw the face because the face's expression can really determine the mood of the art work. From that, I can safely say you are a perfectionist. So, out of all the works you have done so far, which piece can best represent you as an artist? Why?
"The Man With the Occupied Hands" -- Personally, it's my best attempt in capturing emotional turmoil. Also, it's extremely different from my usual work, in composition, abstract/representational art balance, and use of negative space.
That's a very interesting piece and I find the piece to be very engaging and mysterious. Last but not least, if you could create an advertisement for a world known brand, which one would you choose? What concept would you want to do?
There's not a particular brand, but a hospital. When I’m in my elder days, I want to dedicate 5 years of my artistic life to create art that will benefit the patients and staff of a hospital. I’d spend at least 1 year in researching regular patients, janitors, nurses, and doctors, to find out what they interpret as visually therapeutic. At the end of the 5 years, I’ll hang the paintings in the recovering rooms. If they are deemed successful in helping patients and staff members by fostering well-being, mental nourishment, or simply distracts their mind as they heal physically then I’ll continue the practice in other hospitals. If deemed unsuccessful, then I’m still nowhere near where I want to be.
------------------------------------Now it is time for some trivia questions with Tran!
Triangle or Rectangle?
Dog or Cat?
Big hairy dog.
Blue or Yellow?
Cloudy or Sunny Day?
Sea or Mountain?
Mountain by the sea.
Hamburger or Hot Dog?
Europe or North America?
Haven't been to Europe so who knows?
Apple or Orange?
Colour Pencils or Acrylic?
Red or White Wine?
Thank you so much to Tran for taking her time to answer my questions. I am looking forward to see more of her works in the future but in the mean time, you can visit her official website to see more of her works. All images are courtesy of Tran Nguyen.