Multi-award-winning illustrator and artist Tran Nguyen creates ethereal paintings and colored pencil drawings that look like they’re straight out of a fairytale. By exploring her interest in therapeutic imagery, the Georgia-based artist presents intriguing, dream-like narratives that draw the viewer in and invite them to explore their imagination.
Originally from Vietnam, and raised in the US, Nguyen claims her love of art came from an early interest in anime, American cartoon shows, and video games from the 90’s. One of her most celebrated series, The Flooded Hour, depicts larger-than-life female characters that roam around misty, secluded landscapes, often accompanied by giant animal friends. “I enjoy creating an atmosphere that appears ordinary then juxtaposing it with elements that break this to add a subtle hint of surrealism,” explains Nguyen. The artist’s mystical subjects are often seen crouching between houses, stepping over bridges, and wading through lakes, being careful not to disturb the tiny boats below. “I wanted to focus on the wandering through old memories represented by empty neighborhoods.”
Some of Nguyen's most recent work features portraits of women wearing oriental-patterned body paint and floral tattoos, or overlaid with gold leaf, thick drips of paint, and illustrative lines. Taking further inspiration from haute couture and fashion photography, her female subjects are sometimes depicted in dramatic gowns. Other works show giant cats such as tigers, jaguars, and panthers seem to play the role of loyal protectors to warrior women. In one piece, a woman in a flowing ball gown prepares to shoot an arrow from her bow, while her ever-faithful companions—a satin-like panther and leopard—walk proudly beside her.
Find more of Nguyen's fantasy art and works in progress on Instagram.