Article By: Piper Hale
Published: Oct 22, 2011
Tran Nguyen, from Augusta, Georgia, earned a B.F.A. in illustration from SCAD Savannah in 2009.
Tran Nguyen's surrealist painted illustrations are distinctive, uniting her signature fantasy elements with luminescent color schemes. Tran says that she creates these work with the intention of making her art therapeutic for her viewers. "I enjoy the principles of art therapy and I try to apply that to my work," she says. "I try to pinpoint the concept behind each of my paintings toward a specific but universal emotion we've all dealt with in our lives. It's my hope that the viewer can relate, recollect, and thus foster well-being from what they interpret. I'd like for my work to serve as a buffer in getting through tough times."
Tran first began to look into studying art while in high school, where she had earned a reputation for being "the artsy one" and even "the best at drawing." Encouraged by this recognition, she began to look for an undergraduate illustration program
. She applied to SCAD after she saw a presentation of student artwork; she was impressed, and decided that she wanted to push her own work to the same high caliber. "SCAD also offered me great financial help, which was a big plus," Tran says.
Once at SCAD, Tran found herself in an environment she'd never experienced before: an artist's community. "Being surrounded by people whose passion corresponds with mine creates a motivating learning atmosphere," says Tran. "It's a catalyst in furthering my artistic skills and challenging myself. Everyone around me shares a similar dream." For the first time, peers and professional artists were evaluating her skills and she was receiving specific critiques and support that pushed her to improve as an artist.
"The professors are so encouraging toward us," Tran says. "Their feedback is really constructive, and that has always been beneficial." Under the guidance of her professors, Tran's aesthetic has matured into a sophisticated and singular style. "When I look back and compare my portfolio pre-SCAD to the one I have now, I'm so glad I came to SCAD," she says.
Tran graduated in 2009 and has since devoted her time to navigating the fine art circuit. She has exhibited her work in London and all over the United States, including in New York and Los Angeles. The Society of Illustrators recently awarded Tran its gold medal for her dreamy and captivating acrylic "Our Flutter-some Ordeal." Her work also has been featured in numerous publications, including "Creative Quarterly," "Spectrum" and "Idea Illustrator."
One of Tran's favorite experiences from these shows was meeting fellow illustrator Eric Fortune, who attended her recent solo exhibition in California. Tran had written extensively about his works during her senior year at SCAD, and was amazed when he approached her to discuss the works on display. "I actually got to speak with him for a while and even ask him about his work," says Tran. "It was pretty awesome."
Staying on the fine arts scene has allowed Tran to continue mingling with other artists, but she says she misses SCAD, and sometimes relies on her support network of former classmates. "Whenever they have projects they need help to finish, they put in my name, or vice versa," she says. "There are a lot of networking opportunities I have, since I went to SCAD."
Last summer, Tran completed a new series of 15 paintings, which were exhibited at a fine art exposition in Los Angeles. She also will be showing work this year in Spain and the Midwest. She plans eventually to jump back into commercial illustration for book covers, but she says she will continue creating fine art as a side pursuit indefinitely.
View Tran's online portfolio.