Paint­ing an emo­tive damsel

Tran Nguyen re­veals how she cap­tures the essence of a maiden’s dis­tress through the use of body lan­guage, dy­namic el­e­ments and a rich blend of colours

ImagineFX - - Fantasy Illustrator -

Ther­a­peu­tic im­agery – vi­su­als that can be used as a psy­chother­a­peu­tic sup­port ve­hi­cle in heal­ing the soul – has al­ways held a deep fas­ci­na­tion for me. The cap­tur­ing of com­plex hu­man emo­tions such as dis­may in­trigues me, and this in­spires me to il­lus­trate the clas­sic damsel in dis­tress.

Now that I’ve de­cided on the sub­ject, I want to cre­ate an in­ter­pre­ta­tion of a damsel in dis­tress that’s dif­fer­ent from how she’s been tra­di­tion­ally de­picted in the past. When I find my­self in a tight spot, my mind re­acts chaot­i­cally. It’s as if I’m sub­merged in a frenzy of emo­tions, each tear­ing my psy­che in op­po­site di­rec­tions.

To con­vey this com­plex idea, I’ll rep­re­sent the damsel’s woe through the bil­low­ing of her dress, as if she’s been cast into a void of empti­ness. Her phys­i­cal state will con­vey a feel­ing of weak­ness, as she fights to pull ar­rows out of her body. These ar­rows sym­bol­ise the many ad­ver­si­ties that have brought on my char­ac­ter’s state of vul­ner­a­bil­ity. Keep­ing the face emo­tion­less and let­ting the body and sur­round­ing el­e­ments sup­port the nar­ra­tive should re­sult in a more in­trigu­ing im­age.

My aim is for the viewer to be able to re­late to this im­agery and fos­ter feel­ings of well-be­ing from it. It’s sim­i­lar to lis­ten­ing to a sad song when you’re heart­bro­ken. I want my au­di­ence to have a vis­ceral re­sponse when they view it, to help them over­come what­ever ob­sta­cle life has put in their way. Tran is a free­lance il­lus­tra­tor and gallery artist based in Ge­or­gia, US. She has ex­hib­ited with gal­leries in Seat­tle, New York City, Los Angeles and Barcelona. www.my­nameis­tran.com

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