Artist Spotlight #18: Viray Thach

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 8.39.56 pmViray Thach

Do not let Viray Thach’s tiny frame fool you – she is a ball of exuberance and amazing artistic talent! One of the main design directors in last year’s On Dit magazine, Viray gave the University of Adelaide student publication a kooky yet vibrant look with memorable illustrations. In our latest spotlight, Viray tells us about herself and why digital and traditional artistic mediums should not be pitted against one another.

Q: Hello Viray! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

A: I’m a feisty little creature with explosive bouts of creativity and energy that cannot be contained! On a more serious note, I am a multi-skilled creative, formally trained in graphic design and small business management, with a penchant to dabble in photography as well. However, my true passion lies within illustration and I’d eventually love to be able to build a full time career out of it and sell some ridiculously overpriced artwork.

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Q: Who inspires you? What inspires your art?

A: It’s a long list : –

  • My amazing friends whom I regularly use as models. I love turning them into cartoon characters and bringing out their unique style and quirky personalities through my art.
  • Music and photography are some other passions of mine. I am particularly inspired by lyrics and various lighting techniques used in photography.
  • Interesting architecture and open landscapes really fascinate me and capture my attention as well!
  • Another one is fashion as I view it as a tool for self-expression and it defines someone’s character.
  • Personal experiences which include the dramatic highs and lows that is of my life.And lastly, the works of many other talented creatives including illustrators, designers, musicians and photographers who continue to have a great influence over my style and challenge the way I think creatively.

Q: Do you have a preferred medium?

A: As I’ve been formally trained as a graphic designer, my go to medium at the moment is digital painting and vector art using Photoshop and Illustrator. In terms of traditional mediums, I enjoy using black inky pens for outlines, my Faber Castell colour pencils, and chalk pastels as they are all easy to control and blend with. My skills are still a little scratchy when it comes to using traditional mediums, however it’s an area I would like to continue developing. Many artists can be biased when it comes to choosing between digital and traditional mediums, however I enjoy using both art forms and believe that they can be used together harmoniously.

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Q: How would you describe your style?

A: Expressive, striking, fluid, colourful and thoughtful. My work is strongly influenced by comic art and pop art, as well as the fundamentals of graphic design. I tend to create an “unfinished” look in my work where my subjects and outlines appear incomplete. The aim is to only bring out the most important areas within the artwork and leave the audience to complete the rest. Combined with my regular use of positive and negative space, I find these techniques to be most impactful when it comes to communicating my work to my audience as effectively as possible. I also like to create work that triggers an emotional response and will use strong facial expressions, movement, perspectives and strong light sources to try and achieve this.

Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process i.e.: from lingering idea to putting it into practice?

A: As soon as I come up with an idea I need to put it down immediately in an effort to de-clutter my head, as ideas are coming to me all the time! But before I put anything down, I will turn to Google and start researching and gathering references (such as objects, poses, perspectives, lighting, etc.). If needed, sometimes I will take photos of myself in certain poses and use them as a guide. Once I’ve gathered all my research, I will start sketching out my idea digitally and distort or exaggerate what I need to in order to give my work lots of character. When in doubt or encountering a creative block, I’ll also send over some drafts to my friends for their valuable feedback.

If the final product requires me to use a traditional medium, I will plan out my artwork on the computer first, then transfer that idea onto paper afterwards, as this method saves me a lot of time and materials.

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Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the next five years?

A: Ideally, I would love to become a full time Illustrator and earn a comfortable living from it. Perhaps branch out into some editorial illustration, murals, advertising and general commercial work. I’m also keen to sell prints and original paintings on a global level and will continue to network and build strong business relationships.

I’m also interested in teaching art and design on the side as a way to give back to the community. I’ve always loved mentoring and helping people as I know that having the right support network is crucial for a growing young artist. So I’d love to provide emerging artists the knowledge and skills that I may have never have received as a young creative.

Q: If you could recommend one artist who would it be?

A: I’m not exactly sure of her name, but she goes by her artist ID DestinyBlue. A lot of her themes touch on dark subjects such as depression and mental illnesses, so there is a lot of sadness in her work. However, she has this incredible ability to interpret these ideas in such a powerful and beautiful way that strikes you right in the feels! I love how clever and symbolic her concepts are, combined with the use of vivid colours and strong lighting. Elements that I also use in my work, so she is a great artist for me to draw inspiration from.

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Q: What is your favourite gallery?

A: I’m going to cheat a bit here and will have to say that Instagram is my favourite “gallery” when it comes to discovering new artists. Access to their artwork is at the tip of my fingers and Instagram uses this great mind-reading system where they recommend me work which may be suited to my taste. I’m also able to follow an artists’ work from start to finish and get a little insight of what they’re like on a more personal level.

Q: Where can we find more of your work?

A: At the moment you can follow me on Facebook or Instagram. I also have an Instagram page for my photography work where I post bits and pieces of my life and experiences. My website is still a work in progress but please follow me on social media to keep up to date on when it finally launches.

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Q: What three songs can you recommend to fuel and aid the artistic process?

A: A Perfect Circle – The Outsider

  • For some soothing riffs and poetic, albeit angst-y, lyrics. Any song from A Perfect Circle will do actually.

Willow Smith Feat. Sza – 9

  • For a duet of soft female vocals and harmonies

And lastly, this instrumental Trip Hop/Down Tempo mix

  • For some feel good and non-distracting (please ignore the lingerie model) background music.

– Masya Zabidi

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