For this article in the international artist series, we turn to Vietnam, featuring six artists who create fantastic work, from illustration to web design and more! I asked each artist how their country and culture inspired their work, and they delivered fantastic answers. Enjoy!
Ngoc Thuy Do
Ngoc is a graphic and website designer based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Her work features amazing web and print materials often designed with custom characters and illustrations. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
I love the huge cafe and tea culture in Vietnam. There are many places you can enjoy, and there's a cafe on each corner with different styles. Also, there are many great places to go to for trips, as Vietnam has some luck with nature it seems. And I really love the taste of food in the South East area.
Vietnam is moving fast but there are some things that still remain the same. For me, one of them is the idea of the "community over the individual". As I work with other people, I learn to balance between my personal style and the opinions of others, especially when my field is "applied art," and not just "art".
G-Dragon Crayon Prints
Design & Animation for Clovered
I feel like in the past five years, the art community has grown really fast. Now, thanks to social media, young talented artists have places to display their works, chances to get jobs from foreign clients, and even funding to publish their projects.
They learn fast and keep improving. A simple example of this is with book covers, the illustration and design quality have skyrocketed compared to some years ago. We also have some art/design markets, and charity funds where we can donate our works for sale sometimes, which is something I really like.
Estince is an illustrator based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. His work features strong brand packages and gorgeous digital illustrations that reflect his magical inspirations. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
People in Vietnam are nice, tolerant, and welcoming. The food here is in great variety, especially with the street food. You can go out and find food at any stand anywhere. We mix many ingredients together based on the ancient yin yang and five elements theories which brings balance to our meals.
We were dominated by China for more than 1,000 years, and colonized by the USA and France for 100 years. Therefore, we're influenced by many waves of culture. The beauty in our culture, for me, is about how simple and humble our lives are. We don't seek for an extraordinary life. We just live and enjoy.
In my work, I like to reflect upon the happiness of living in the moment. Just smile and forget the struggles.
Various Vector Characters
Ben & Billy Branding
Our country is a developing one, and people don't value art as much. The art community is young but I'm hoping for a better future. So far there are a lot more talented artists here than there were 10 years ago.
Lucia is a graphic designer based in Hanoi, Vietnam. Her work features clean, colorful designs for branding, illustrations, and so much more. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
L - Personal App
I have lived in Vietnam for 20 years, this is my hometown. Vietnam is a peaceful nation. We have many beautiful landscapes, many incredible sites, and wonderful customs and traditions. What I like most about living in Vietnam is probably the familiarity, the tranquility. Vietnam isn’t a rich, developed, or modern country, but Vietnam is much more peaceful than other developing countries. Vietnam cuisine is also what makes me love my own country. Vietnam cuisine is very diverse and varied. If you can visit Vietnam, please try it!
GiỏiBox - Active Learning
Vietnam is a country in Asia, so some of our views on regional traditions and culture can be repressive, antiquated. But as a designer, I always want to catch up with the modern world. In my work, cultural differences are not an obstacle for me. But I also respect the culture of my country as well.
Our country has a lot of talented designers and artists. The Vietnamese are very diligent. The designers I know are very successful. They love their jobs and are passionate about the arts as if they are their own children. In recent years, the arts have generally developed in Vietnam very fast. Vietnam is also a great design resource with many potentially great designers.
Phung Nguyen Quang
Phung is an illustrator based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. His work features unique, colorful imagery filled with lots of charm and culture. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
I live in Saigon City now and I love the people around here. They are very kind, have good humor, and are absolutely gorgeous.
Singapore 50th Anniversary's Postcard Project
I am influenced by traditional Vietnamese decorative paintings. Especially the way they combine textures, colors, and characters. They always inspire me with their new look at illustration.
Singapore Travel Booklet
In Saigon, there are many small groups of illustrators and they usually know each other. They are very talented and I have learned a lot from them.
Rong is a children's book illustrator based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. His work features delightful illustrations with a kind, creative, and vibrant style. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
What I love about my country is the people and how they look at the temporary things in life. The Vietnamese in general are kindhearted, eager to help, trustworthy, and they see life in a very simple way.
Vietnam Street Cart
My favorite things about living in Vietnam is looking at the temporary wagons, fashion trends, and how people decorate their grocery stores. Travelers tend to look at famous places like Ben Thanh Market or Independence Palace, and often look past the beautiful things right in front of their eyes. I want to capture all of the little things around me into illustrations to remind travelers and the inhabitants living here that you don’t have to go far to look for beauty because it is right there, right where you are!
Because I believe one day, we will miss all of these things when modernized towers, supermarkets, or convenient stores come to replace the old and inconvenient ones.
Vietnam Little Quarter
The Vietnamese illustrative community is a fresh and promising one. There are artists that make it as professionals and are well-known like Thai My Phuong, Lai N. Nguyen, Sith Zam, and Khoa Le. But I have also learned so many things from other illustrators who have worked longer than me.
There have been so many illustrators bringing international prizes back to Vietnam and that reason triggers me to make more, learn more, and also achieve more. I also look forward to having a big prize next year myself, and I hope my hard work will pay off.
Thao is a senior motion graphics artist based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Her work features amazingly creative and inspiring visual animations for some of your favorite brands. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
The Future Starts Now
I studied abroad in Malaysia for two years, so the thing that I really love and miss about Vietnam is Vietnamese cuisine. Vietnam has a variety of food across our country, and if you guys have time to travel to Vietnam I hope you will give it a try!
My work was inspired not only by the culture and region but also by everything around me, such as the news, ideas when I'm driving my motorbike, or something trending. Also, I really like to play with color, visual effects, and motion.
The art community in Vietnam is developing very fast. Now when I look at new students that are the same age as I was 4 years ago, I just think, "Wow, they are so cool, smart, and such fast learners." The art community is transitioning to a whole new level, and even I have to learn every day to catch up. I hope one day Vietnamese artists will make the world look at us and say, "Wow!"
Many thanks to the artists who took time to answer my questions and share a bit about themselves and how their country and/or culture has affected their work. You can check out more of their work in the links below: