Below is a Transformation Series of a figure carved in different states. The 6"x8" woodcut prints are oil-based ink on 9.5" x 14" sheets of Fabriano. These were created in the Fall of 2017.
About a month ago I was saddened to hear that a fellow artist and former classmate was on his bicycle and was hit by a car. This felt close to home, although my friend Jon had it way much worse than me.
Here's a link to his gofundme page, set up by his dad, which gives details of Jon's unfortunate accident:
If any of you are able to help out a fellow artist, please do and donate to his page.
Wishing you a good recovery and lots of healing, Jon.
"From a Fortune Cookie (Eastern Filbert Blight)," 2017. Oil-based ink & woodcut print on Awagami Kitakata. 8"x10" block on 12"x15" paper.
It has been a while since I have posted here and I sometimes wonder how a viewer may change over the passage of time. For example, if say someone once looked at my blog/website upon a previous time and later revisited the same image of a work I had posted, is that view experienced the same way?
Over the past four+ years I have spent a significant time away from social media & spent time adjusting to a new life in the Pacific Northwest. Last fall I enrolled in a Woodcut Printmaking class and tapped into a creative flow and a technical process that was relatively new to me. Below, an example of a first state of an ongoing piece:
I promise I'll post more images soon of additional prints.
After a brief hiatus, I have returned to updating my blog.
Last weekend I participated and co-facilitated a zine making workshop with a long-time esteemed colleague and friend A'misa Chiu, for the 16th annual Portland Zine Symposium. Our workshop, entitled, "Zine in a Hurry," allowed participants to contribute a split page spread. Use of collage, found images and text, combined with doodles and hand lettering were assembled into a 14 page black and white zine. Below is a photo of the front cover of our final product.
What stood out to me during this hands-on making workshop was the swift focus of each attendee. A'misa and I set a timer for the first half page spread. When time was called, the page was passed on to the next person on the right who would then complete the other half of the spread. A few brave souls were willing to add in an attempt to complete the previous person's work. I appreciated the open, nonjudgmental, and curious efforts brought forth into each participants' contribution. There was not much time to deliberate, but enough to just create.
Needless to say, I have to make a pitch for the venues that hosted the two-day Zine Symposium, specifically the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) in Portland, OR. This wonderful resource is actually in the midst of moving to a new location and needs your help in procuring funds.
I shall return again soon with more updates on my blog this summer.
First off, I apologize for the lag in submitting this post but wanted to add this featured info.
Two months ago I had the honor of participating in a monthly arts program called "Common Ground" located at the Vietnamese American Arts & Letter Association (VAALA) Center in Santa Ana, CA. I performed a live, brief shadow projection piece called "Ong 8-fold." It is an experimental moving image of an 8-fold artist's book that I created on an inkjet transparency and illuminated using an overhead projector. As an homage to my late grandfather, this piece was originally created in early 2012 and was reprised for this event.
Here is a link to an old youtube video in case you are interested in viewing the shadow projection piece. I've wavered back and forth about listing this on my "WORK" page, but figured it would be appropriate to share a piece that I find personal here in this blog post.
Following my guest talk and presentation of my installation at CSU Channel Islands earlier this Spring, I was honored to participate in a group of guest panel speakers for the Art Department's Concept to Career: Grad School Night program. Below is the line-up of my fellow presenters, including my esteemed colleague and friend, Julianne P. Gavino:
MA, Museum Studies, NYU
PhD (in progress)
History of Art and Architecture, UCSB
Ashleigh Norman (CI Class of ’11)
MFA, Painting (in progress)
San Francisco Art Institute
Jocelyn Kornfeld (CI Class of ’09)
MFA, Graphic Design
University of Edinburgh
Bradley Schnell (CI Class of ’05)
Masters of Architecture
University of Pennsylvania
Agnete “Chippy” Todd (CI Class of ’09)
CERCAL, International Footwear and Design School
Van C. Tran
MFA, Art, Public & Social Practice
The event was overall successful, with a filled room of audience members of all ages and backgrounds. The majority of the audience stuck it through our group discussion, which included responses to the public's questions about our student loan debt, grad school advice, and what our grad school experience was like in a nut shell.
I enjoyed listening to the different voices behind the presenters, who all had taken a different academic art trajectory. Although a majority of the panel speakers were CI alum, everyone had a different higher educational background and perspective to share. This broad base of interests show that there are many options to choose from when selecting and applying to schools as a prospective grad student. And not choosing to go to graduate school to pursue professional work is and has always been an option.
Since this experience, I have been reflecting on how much I have grown post-graduate school, and where I am now with my creative work and professional work. Though it can be easy to get stuck in the moment (as well as the past), I'm trying to use this self-reflection as an assessment of what's next and identify what previous goals I'll need to realign.
I shall extend these similar reflective questions aloud: How much have you grown (since your education) and where are you at now with what you are doing? What connections have you made between what you explored in school and your current work?
I am honored to announce that I have new work on display as the inaugural artist in residence at CSU Channel Islands. Here is one snapshot of the work installed at the Broome Library on campus.
The series of large scale qr graphics you see (you may also refer to the bottom of this post to see them in its digital form) couple with an online participatory project entitled, "Campus Wisdom."
Campus Wisdom seeks, collects, and archives narratives of the college-driven. A range of college advice or thoughts in which college students and graduates wish to impart to the online public is submitted.
The banners will be on view for the duration of April 2014, although the online participatory blog will be ongoing. To read the blog and share your wisdom, click on the highlighted Campus Wisdom link, snap any one of the QR codes below, or type in this URL address: http://www.campuswisdom.wordpress.com/csu-channel-islands/
Yesterday afternoon I attended a presentation and discussion led by Bill Cleveland, which was organized by the Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement and A Reason to Survive (ARTS).
What came out of this informal talk was a history and debrief of vocabulary that is often used (and often interchangeably) within public art practice. Following this debrief, Cleveland shared a number of various proposals that were submitted to the Dougoether Foundation. As he described each project proposal, the audience had the opportunity to participate as a panel and vote "yay" or "nay" on what seemed feasible. It turned out that all of the proposals were actually funded and realized, regardless of how "out of this world" the proposals seemed. I thought this brought up an interesting discussion on the disparity between artistic visions and funder (or even viewer) expectations. This seems to be a common root cause for either success or failure. I certainly don't have an answer to any of these big questions, but have been learning to consider these and equip in my back pocket to refer for continuous reflection.
Needless to say, the attendees learned about "The Great Neighborhood Challenge," which was announced by the San Diego Foundation. Community awards will be granted to creative projects that will improve the neighborhoods of San Diego. I'm curious to learn more about this challenge and see what creative changes can be made.
Above is a sneak preview to a new line of shadow projections that I will be presenting this Saturday, 12/21/13 at the Winter Wonderland space located inside the Westfield Plaza Camino Real in Carlsbad (2525 El Camino Real; the space is between Cricket Wireless and Zales). The image you see is a shadow of a snow-covered pine tree layered over an inkjet transparency of a forest. A real pine tree sits in the right foreground. The smell of pine adds to the wonderland experience.
I'm pleased to share that I have been creating new work and hope you will stop by this Saturday to witness it in movement. My 2pm presentation and Q&A follows Jukebox Radio, a performance group that works with music, puppets, and play. They will be hosting a workshop at 12:30pm that day as well.
Stay tuned for an additional update on my involvement with Winter Wonderland. I'll also be participating in a pop-up shop on Sunday, 12/22/13 and will be selling some recently new work and handmade crafts.
Van (rhymes with "fun") C. Tran