Young designer wins US award

Update: January, 10/2018 - 09:15

Original: Posters of four characters from San Hậu classical drama made using Trúc Chỉ art.
Viet Nam News

Twenty-three-year-old designer Đặng Thị Bích Ngọc has been named a winner of the 2017 American Graphic Design Awards with a series of four posters featuring characters from an ancient tuồng play (classical drama).

Graphic Design USA has been a business-to-business information source for graphic design professionals since 1963. The competition this year attracted nearly 10,000 entries.

Ngọc made the posters on Trúc Chỉ (Vietnamese artistic handmade paper). In  2011, painter Phan Hải Bằng created a new type of art, đồ họa Trúc Chỉ (trucchigraphy), in which artists use the paper to create paintings and other artworks.

The Trúc Chỉ art has become a material for many artistic and daily-use products, such as lanterns, wallets, candle boxes, handbags, wall paintings and table calendars.

Winning projects in the awards ranged from traditional print and packaging to non-traditional internet and interactive pieces, from dream assignments to conventional endeavors, from large creative departments to independent design studios and freelancers, from established stars to rising newcomers.

Lê Hương chats with Ngọc about her passion:

How did you know about the American Graphic Design Award? How did you prepare for it?

Innovative: Young designer Đặng Thị Bích Ngọc. Photos courtesy of the designer
-When information about my graduation thesis featuring posters for a show of traditional music made using Trúc Chỉ, I received congratulations from friends, and acquaintances.

I also received a “friend request” from designer Nguyễn Tri Phương Đông from the US. I knew he was advisor to many generations of design students in HCM City and had won various international design awards.

He encouraged me to use the same material (Trúc Chỉ) for a more focused topic - a poster of four characters from an ancient tuồng play titled San Hậu. He proposed that my teachers at Đà Nẵng Architecture University support me at four competitions in the US.

Đông spoke with my supervisor, Trần Thanh Bình, and teacher, Phan Hải Bằng, and asked them to help me develop my designs and join the contests. I concentrated for two months to prepare.

How did you react when you received the news on the award?

-I received an email from the contest organisers. I half believed and half doubted my win. My heart jumped in my chest. Then I read it again and again and translated it for my supervisor. I was lucky enough to win the award in the Student Design category from more than 10,000 entries.

I am happy to have done things I have never even dreamt of. I have sent my gratitude to my family, teachers and friends, who have supported me during the creating process. I will continue to pursue traditional arts as I have done in my thesis and the winning work.

Why did you choose trucchigraphy and masks of characters in San Hậu classical drama?

When I did my graduation thesis, one of the requirements was that the work should express the typical characteristics of traditional theatrical art. So I wanted to find a material and technique that I could use to express my topic the best. After considering several materials, I decided to use Trúc Chỉ. My supervisor supported me enthusiastically. I then travelled to Huế to join Trúc Chỉ Garden run by painter Phan Hải Bằng.

The art of Trúc Chỉ uses materials including bamboo, sugarcane, water-fern and grass combined with traditional and modern techniques of paper making.

By combining Vietnamese traditional papermaking and the principle of graphic arts, “the trucchigraphy” technical term was introduced.

Teacher Đông helped me to improve my thesis to join the contests.

What’s your passion? What will you focus for design in the future?

When I was small, I loved painting. When I got older, my passion pushed me into Architecture University for five years. Graphic design is a large field. 

I think I will continue to follow traditional arts, combining them with Trúc Chỉ to express the work as I want.

What’s your plan this year?

I intend to submit San Hậu posters to two more competitions this year. I have just graduated from university, but in three-years, I intend to get working experiences with companies.

Tell me about your daily life?

I’m now living in Đà Nẵng City with many chances to self develop and learn. I’m working at a design company and am rather busy. In my free time, I listen to pop music and search the internet for design fields. — VNS