“If you don’t imagine, nothing ever happens at all.” – John Green
When I was a young boy, I spent hours alone in my room inventing stories. My parents would walk past my door hearing sound effects and narration. They did not understand how I could immerse myself so fully into worlds that did not exist anywhere, except inside me. Or how I could play for days-on-end with no toy other than my own hands, my own fingers which became dragons and monsters, villains and heroes.
Time will tell if my own written stories find their way out into the world. I write with the hope, the dream, of having a positive impact on the lives of others. That my scars and my imagination might work in concert to create stories that resonate with others, that settle into their bones, into their hearts, that change them in some positive way.
I have always been drawn, it seems, to stories. To imagined moments, scenes, experiences that are shared through words, or through images. That is why I write. And why I curate a website devoted to the art of others. To be part of those stories. To share them.
Through a rather circuitous route, I unexpectedly came across the incredible art of award-winning illustrator and gallery artist Tran Nguyen. With visual art, I am sometimes captivated by the juxtaposition of textures, of angles, of color. With Tran’s paintings, though, I am taken by a different sort of juxtaposition – between character and setting.
I am not going to pretend to know how they take a painting like “Treading Through an Untrimmed Memory” and make a video like this.
All I will say is – colored pencil and acrylic. Soft. Subtle. And yet, wow!
According to her website, Tran is “fascinated with creating visuals that can be used as a psycho-therapeutic support vehicle, exploring the mind’s landscape.” And it is those landscapes that become so stunning in her hands.
There are so many of Tran’s paintings that resonate with me, so many interesting stories that she creates. Paintings like “Orange is Not Your Color” and “40 Rooms,” which was apparently created for Oprah Magazine, spark the imagination as to what led to the moment being depicted, what is truly happening in that moment, and what might happen next.
I am taken by so many of Tran’s paintings and am not sure my interpretation of the sundry stories she conveys would be worthy of their beauty.
Instead, I think it best if I just share as many of them here as possible for you to explore, to experience, for you to bring your own stories to and interpret for yourself, uninfluenced and unencumbered by my thoughts, by my own stories and subjective perception.
I hope you will spend some time with the stunning paintings below and also visit Tran’s website for more incredible work. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram. I hope you will treat yourself to the emotion, the color, the exquisite lines, the fascinating stories, and the wonderful imagination of Tran Nguyen’s art.