Embrace Sadness and Live with Solidtude: Interview with Xuan Loc Xuan
Take a closer look at AWW Issue 4 – My Time Capsule’s cover and you’ll definitely find Xuan Loc Xuan’s unique touch of nature amidst all the portraits. It was also this signature style of whimsical and gentle illustrations that caught our eye immediately, making us wonder what stories lie behind this rising Vietnamese illustrator.
All of us have been spending a lot of time by ourselves lately. If it happens that you’re learning how to live with solitude and be perfectly happy alone, read on and perhaps you can gain some insights through her illustrations!
AWW: We’re so excited to have you as our first Vietnamese illustrator friend! How is the lifestyle in Vietnam and how did you become an illustrator?
Xuan Loc Xuan: My name is Xuan Loc – it means ‘spring buds’. I was born in the spring in a village in the south of Vietnam. Since childhood, drawing has always been a great passion of mine and I always dreamt of becoming an illustrator. So I decided to take design courses in college to practice my art skills and improve my competency. I just had to draw, draw and draw.
AWW: We’ve realised that in most of your illustrations, it usually includes a single character who immerses him/herself in nature. Does your drawing represent your mood or a certain state of mind?
Xuan Loc: I think the sadness of childhood is the most influential factor. I live a pretty introverted life and often feel sad. So my paintings also have those cold, sad and dark colors. Although my present life is happier than before, the sadness is always there. I think I’ve learned how to cope and live with it nonetheless.
AWW: Do you give a certain personality to the people you draw? Or are they people you’ve encountered in real life?
Xuan Loc: Almost all the people in my work are strangers or from my imagination. I think it’s hard to illustrate things that are familiar or accustomed to. I am more interested in strangers and unfamiliar things.
AWW: You’ve added a lot of personal touches in the portrait illustrations done for AWW ISSUE 4 and WE LOVE IT! How did you determine what elements to include?
Xuan Loc: I tend to have minimalist designs for the 8 portrait illustrations. The use of color is a main factor in the drawings as they determine the strength of an illustration. I didn’t draw the surroundings or use a single background color for them, but to emphasize the main focus instead. I carefully craft the portrait of each illustrator from their eyes, to the rosy cheeks, or the mouth. Sometimes the smallest elements become the greatest attractions.
AWW: Our interviewees chose animals that best represent themselves — what about you? What is your soul animal and why?
Xuan Loc: I think the animal that represents myself is reindeer as it coincides with my name.
Click to see how these illustrators transform into their soul animals!
To find out more about Xuan Loc Xuan please visit the artist's IG account | @xuanlocxuan
All images provided by Xuan Loc Xuan.