Sunday, December 6, 2009

An Interview with Jessica Nguyen

Please visit Jessica's page, as well as her joint art blog!

Your full name: Jessica Nguyen
Your age: 21
Your location: Orange County, CA

Can you describe your art?
-My art is fun and colorful. Life, at the moment, is so complicated and busy so I also enjoy being simple with my characters. I’d like to think my creations are sincere and not overwhelming. My artwork and doing art makes me happy and I hope that through my artwork others can feel even a moment of happiness as well

When did you first become interested in art? Was there anything specific that prompted this interest?

-I first became interested in art for as long as I can remember, which is such a cliche answer. Regardless, it’s true. I still have my composition books from 1st-3rd grade. They’re so much fun to look at. Sometimes I wish I still drew like that haha.

I think what influenced me at the time were Disney movies and my dad. My favorite characters were Ariel and Jasmine so I would always draw them. My dad and I used to bond through art. Whenever he had the chance, he would try to teach me about drawing landscapes with different perspectives. He also bought me How-to books. My favorites were flowers and birds.

Do you have formal training in art?

-No. However, when I need to register for my classes, I always look at what art courses are being offered. I’m tempted, but more terrified about being graded on my art work. It’s just too much pressure and stress. I would most likely be more stressed out taking a Beginner Drawing class than one of my upper division Biology classes. That’s pretty much how terrified I am.

What is the inspiration behind your wacky creatures?

-Oh I don’t know if they’re wacky haha. Many of my drawings are spur of the moment characters. Other times I will have a specific idea of what character I want to make. The idea could have been something I saw during the day while I was walking around campus, doing my volunteer work, stepping out to my backyard, surfing the Internet, hearing a certain lyric etc. Moreover, the idea could have been something my friends suggest. It could be their current obsession or favorite animal.

You seem to take great care in choosing the colors in each of your pieces. Can you describe the importance of color in your work?

-I adore colors. I think it’s so interesting how colors work together especially if you don’t imagine using certain colors together. Sometimes its the colors that decide what I’m going to be drawing.

Your gallery is full of expressive characters. Are these drawing autobiographical in any way?

-Partly yes. In the past, I used to draw how I felt (y’know how angsty teenagers can be). I still sometimes do. For instance, one of my recent drawings titled “Ouchies” was definitely autobiographical. I was experiencing really bad physical pain in my legs and feet—both of known and unknown causes. I didn’t know how to deal with it especially the pain that I couldn’t figure out why I was hurting. So frustrated, I transferred all those feelings and placed it into a drawing. It felt better to get that frustration out in a positive way.

What message do you hope your art will convey?

- As I said earlier, I hope my art could convey happiness. It’s fulfilling to know that my art can brighten up someone’s day. For me, my art reminds me to always enjoy the little, simple things in life. You don’t always have to be bogged down in stress or pressure even if you’re a pre-med student haha.

How does art affect your work life? Your personal life?

-I use art as a creative output and a stress reliever. Sometimes all I want to do is draw. My friends, who know that I draw, always ask why I am not an Art major. Art is such an important aspect of my life, but I can’t see myself making a career out of it. And so, art is just a hobby to me. I’m currently finishing up my last year as a Biological Sciences major with a minor in Medical Anthropology. I try my best to juggle school, research, volunteer work, watching the many shows that I watch every week, and drawing (I guess socializing too). Drawing is usually the last thing I do at the end of the day (about 90% of the artwork I submit to DeviantArt was done between the times of 12-4am).

Art helps me balance out my life. When I draw, I don’t need to be thinking about all the things I have to get done every single moment. Art also helps me in my volunteer work. One of the places I volunteer at I am the head of the arts and crafts team. So I get to come up with and lead craft projects for the kids. The other place I volunteer at is in the Pediatrics department of a hospital. When I am not playing board games with the patients, I’ll try my best to incorpate art there too. I will redecorate the play room with drawings ( like a underwater sea theme) or I will try to get the little ones into coloring or doing small craft projects (making bracelets, decorating foam visors, etc).

You have mentioned creating banners for your friends music site, and creating designs for downloadable wallpaper. Do you have any long-term goals involving art and design?

-A lot of my dA watchers tell me I should create stationary, T-shirts, or totes with my art work. However, I don’t really have time right now or the resources to get such things done. Also, it’ll only be motivating enough if a lot of people were interested.

The reason I created the banner for my friend was because he asked me if I could. As for the downloadable wallpapers, I would just make them, again, if people were interested in using them. My recent pieces were all wallpaper sized because I personally needed to change up my laptop wallpaper (Lee Pace was my wallpaper for about six months or longer haha).

I am always going to be drawing but some day though in the future (after medical school and all that) I would love to learn more about illustration and create my very own children’s book.

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