We had the good fortune of connecting with Ellen Truong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ellen, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
My parents and teachers played a huge role in me becoming a creative. My mom especially loved my scribbles as a kid and for most of my childhood I was doing it for her. When I decided to continue on this path into college I had to relearn how to make art for myself and in that find a cause to create. I realized that art is ever changing, that I don’t have to be just one type of illustrator. This opened a whole new world for me after graduating college. I pursued art because I wanted to see what my scribbles could become.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I illustrate a lot of plants and women. Both are so organic in their own ways that I never get tired of it. My mediums consists of watercolor, ink, and digital. Growing up in immigrant family showed me the delicate ties of a community that reflects in my work. It’s the stories behind the curtains that need telling.
I was so excited about my last project with Maternity Care Coalition. They commissioned me for one Mother’s Day greeting card that turned into three. I got to create lush sceneries for each card containing plants keeping with the theme that the organization holds. It was great creating for a cause that helps the community by giving back.
Patience, practice, and persistence is really the key to how I got to where I am today. I put trust in the universe to show me the way and to put people in my path. I had to learn to have confidence in myself so that I could create and complete the tasks at hand while thinking or future me. It wasn’t easy and I had my set backs, but as I kept vending at shows and kept meeting new people along the way I realized that there was no timeline I had to uphold. With time I learned to just keep creating at any pace that I could muster. People will see my work eventually, and they did.
I grew up in a small town and was exposed to nature early on. When I got to travel, the moments I most enjoyed were the ones in forests, quiet shrines, and places of serenity. If I could somehow include that in all my pieces I will. I grew up around strong Vietnamese women who never backed down. The women I create in my pieces today reflect them and each hold a piece of my heart. I create to tell stories and illustrate the softer moments of life.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Of course shout out to the great Rachael Amber who showed me the way in art shows and vending at markets. I met so many other amazing artists through these shows. As soon as COVID-19 lets up I’ll be back out there. My parents worked so hard coming to America and creating opportunities for their kids. They supported me, and worry for me, but they deserve the biggest shout out.
There are so many people and events that have shaped me to be the artist I am today. There are two mentors from college that really made things click for me. First was an actual professor I had by the name of Christian Patch or as we called him, Patch. He was really inspiring to me and so down to earth. He encouraged us to take our ideas and run with it in a way that, for me, had me realize the first steps on the path I wanted to take as an illustrator. Lisk Feng was a visiting artist for a class I took and I only got a few weeks with her but she’s an inspiration for me. She showed us how she handles the work field and taught us to get out of the box that we’ve probably built ourselves it.