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
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