Duc Truong Huyen
Next up in our TAD student spotlight series we are excited to bring you first semester Entertainment Art 2D student Duc Truong Huyen. Duc currently lives in Saigon Vietnam and is a reserved officer in Vietnamese Military. He is well on his way to doing whatever career path he chooses to pursue with his art and we are overjoyed to have him as a student! Without further a due, Duc Truong Huyen!
Fun Fact: Duc actually participated in TAD Online from the inside of a tank before! Really.
WEBSITE | fxevo.blogspot.com
INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST:
1. What inspired you to be an artist?
Lots of thing inspired me to be an artist, but inspiration is not enough to fuel me up and launch into the world of art. The child inside me is actually the ultimate source of energy. I'm glad that I'm still be curious and playful about everything around me, I can spend all day sketching with paper, and making mistake doesn't bother me at all. A child doesn't worry about that, he just does what he loves.
2. What are three things about art that you have learned in the past year at TAD which had the biggest impact on your work?
Hard to pick three things, as I learned tons of them and that's just the very first semester. But here some:
1. One time in Sketchbook class I sketched a big bad-ass rhinoceros beetle with very heavy artillery gun attached on it. I thought that was super cool, very Star Wars in vibe and other students liked it as well. But Ron Lemen and Sterling Hundley totally shot it down. I was at a loss, ""What's wrong? My others assignments seem to be going well!"" My instructors, in a very professional manner, pointed out many things were wrong and made me realize that being a good artist is not about drawing cool random fanboy stuff. It is about research, plans, strong design and great ideas.
2. Jane Radstrom and John English gave me feedback on a figure assignment, and told the wise words ""Work smarter not harder"". That advice is conflict with my Asian upbringing of ""being a hard working dude"". Now every time I work on assignments, I must think about ""What's the goal for this?...What approach I should use to solve the problem?". Making sense of a problem and finding simple solutions is important.
3. I graduated from architecture school. I had created a ton of architectural renderings by hand. So when it came to Marshall Vandruff’s class I held an arrogance about how good my perspective skill was and I was dead wrong. Luckily for me Marshall is one of most brilliant teachers I ever known, so I didn’t get any punishment for that stupid thinking. I learned from him how to make creative work out of most basic forms. Now every time I draw a cube I always wonder how many people out there will have their art career hampered by just a big box of arrogance and the lack of the most basic fundamental skills?
3. Where do you want to be with your art and career after you finish TAD?
As at beginning of TAD I was all about working for top company like Valve, Massive Black, EA, Blizzard, and to appear in coolest art books. After the first semester I became less focused on the goal and more on creating. I just want to draw and paint without any worrying about technical stuffs and I want great skills. The freedom to unleash my imagination is what I want the most.
4. What is your most immediate goal you are trying to achieve with your artwork?
Storytelling. As they said “A picture is worth a thousand words”, narrative power is best thing a true artist can have, in my mind. I don’t want to hear “WOAH beautiful drawing!” anymore, I want to hear “Oh, hmmmm, that’s deep, I totally get it.” (Brent Watkinson said it once to me). I want to be able to communicate stories.
5. How important is experimentation in your process?
Experimentation is the most important aspect of my process right now, as I have the playground and threshold to do that under well thought advice from my instructors. Being good with something and playful with others is what I’m taught in Media and Sketchbooks class. Making mistakes doesn't hurt me and even if it does I would rather be hurt now and grow stronger than struggle later in my career because I did not try new things.
6. What do you think the biggest hurdles are for you in your work in the next couple years?
Hurdles? Com’on! I am getting an amazing education, have the best instructors, and crazy fantastic friends at TAD, a great life and family. With all that, then the only thing left is myself, that’s my greatest nemesis.
7. What is it like studying at TAD with all the professional faculty?
I placed my best bet on TAD and it turned out to be a lifetime investment. I didn’t believe I could be overwhelmed with emotions when looking at artwork, but I experience it now and sometimes the impact of knowledge I learn here make my knees weak in joy and happiness. The instructors not only help us with assignments but they advice us how to improve our life as well. Now I always carry my sketchbook and camera around, search and investigate anything interesting, I am in the military so I get to fire a real AK-47, but I use my time and sketch it’s mechanisms, even sitting in a main battle tank and joining my class. I use my time wisely. I create as much as I can.
And the best thing about TAD is I can have great education right at my place. Lots of people may underestimate it and wonder if learning online works. I want a great art education without losing my originality. If I was forced to come to the US to learn art, eventually I will have more America influences in it. In Sketchbook class, I study things I see, I research and study the uniqueness of my beloved country, Vietnam. I’m living in Saigon, a great city, that has all bad and good things merging together. Every aspect of my city adds to my artistic vision. Every day here can be an amazing adventure. With my knowledge and education I get from TAD combining with the undiscovered, dynamic environment here, I have the best of both worlds.
8. What do you do when you are feeling creative blocks? How do you overcome them?
Creative blocks happen to me a lot since I am currently still learning to be an artist. Many reasons can be listed. Sometimes it is related to the fact that I am still learning my skill set. Other times it is the mistake of careless research and composing, or weak story-telling. Usually I try to narrow the main reasons down, and then do experiments with many possibilities. This helps me find something which can work. If things still do not go well, I will ask for help from my instructors as they are always there helping us (Jason Manley, for example, will spend a lot of extra hours to give us feedback). But sometimes it can't be saved so I must accept my failure, study what I did wrong and have the courage to do it again.
9. What are some things you do, to allow time and energy to focus so much on art?
Right now I don’t draw and paint as much as I did one or two years ago. There’s still a fair amount of hard-working but I spend lots of spare time to read anything that interests me such as the news, reference books, my country’s folklore, classic literature, and I also study genre literature like that of Tom Clancy. They fuel my imagination and when I come back to the canvas or my computer, I have tons of things jumping in my mind. I also have some small hobbies like walking around my city, listening to music with audiophile headphones, caring for my pets… Studying in an intensive but should not rob your life away. Dorian Iten gave me great advice, encouraging me to sleep enough and well or I will struggle normal daily stuffs, let alone when creating art. Care for your mind and body.
10. What advice would you have to other artists looking to grow in their work and skills?
Sharing your work is important. If you don’t even bother to create, and just keep it in your mind, no one will ever know. It is better to create and share so people can see it. They can tell you what they see and you can learn from it. There’s lots of things I put into my painting unconsciously, then my friends and instructors point them out. Doing this helps me discover my inner self and thoughts. It’s a journey that is of benefit to all of us, to be open with our work. It makes our art stronger.
Below are some of Duc's work from first semester in foundations.