Tuesday, June 1

subtle palette and drama

A great ensemble to me will be a mixture of art, fashion, and graphic technology. Only rarely, if ever can one find this, and when the moment comes, one cannot help but spread it like an infectious disease. Like a really juicy gossip that’s too good to keep.

Here’s my gossip. Meet Kevin Tran. An artist. Fashion Designer. Graphic Designer. Entrepreneur. They say first impressions last a lifetime, and and to say that the impression Kevin gave me at Finders Keepers last year was impressive would be an understatement that bordered on criminal?

This 23 year old Sydney boy is an insane illustrator and artist. After his debut in 2009, he’s been featured in some of the most anticipated shows interstate and overseas. As if that’s not enough, he has delved into the intricacies of fashion design with his street-wear label, A Monograph of Yesterday.

Here’s a snippet of Kevin’s approach to design:

How would you describe your approach? Is it for simplicity, sleekness, or do you achieve aim for complexity?

I really admire simple and clean graphic design. Often find subtle and retrained graphics bolder and more engaging than heavy handed or complicated visuals. Because of this appreciation, I try to keep my graphic design work rather clean and minimal but I do like the hands on, gestural or textured approach in moderation. Different projects call for different visual treatments, so I guess I aim to create visuals that have character and personality with a professional and refined finish.

Kevin has shown mastery in creating the best combinations of lines, shapes, colours and textures. Balance is what a lot of great artists struggle with. It becomes an ongoing battle between the artist’s character and his work. With nothing but the future ahead, Kevin lends himself to new discoveries, complexities and working with this balance.

With an experience everyone can relate to, we start off not knowing exactly what we want. From attempting the unknown to immersing himself with magazines, textiles, websites and photography, Kevin has learned to love and realise the beauty embedded in design. To love ART itself.

As he admires the world’s greatest, like Van Gogh and Leonardo DaVinci, the flood of emerging street artists and illustrators have also become a great inspiration.

That prompted me to pick up a sketchbook and start experimenting with different mediums to work out what I liked.

Fashion design is a whole new genre, but it’s not something Kevin has ignored. With its fair share of awesomeness and challenges, he’s determined to bring it back up and running. We could be seeing more of the classic bold graphics, icon and symbols. A smooth turn into denim and jackets is within reach later down the track. Sometimes, it’s better to work wisely than hard, and he sees the importance of taking one step at a time.
What should we look out for?

I'm currently an artist-in-residence at the Homebush Armory Artists Studios. The residency gives me access to a studio space, wood and metal workshop and onsite accommodation. It's been over a year since my last solo show and I thought a good way to kick off 2010 would be to create a new body of work to exhibit. I'm experimenting with a few new things, like incorporating chalk pastels into my mixed media works and also using plywood off-cuts as a new surface to work on. I'm trying to work bigger and create some originals for the show, as well as some limited edition prints.
In a conversation with me, I like throwing random stuff out there. And because I love my denim, I just had to ask Kevin this:

Top 3 denim jeans brand.
April 77
Cheap Monday

And because I love dance, I added this:

If you had to choose between singing and dancing, which one would it be?
Dancing, hands down!

I'm always in the mood for bit of shuffling, jerking and on the rare occasion, some gabber.
There you have it, nothing is out of reach with this young Sydneysider. I completely love the images shown here; I’ve actually never seen some of them so you could imagine what it was like for me when he sent it through. Despite the fact that I am already quite fond of Kevin’s previous work, I am at the edge of my seat anticipating new masterpieces. Many things are ahead – this year or the next. If you want more, you can experience his progress at


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I've had the pleasure of meeting Kevin recently and discovering his extraordinary and diverse artistry. He’s certainly stunning talent with a beautiful humility.

mrs said...

Strongly agreed with both of you! So excited for his new work!

PunditFight said...

I have also had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Kevin. The kind words so far are well deserved yet he is worthy of more praise.