Educator; Literary Arts: Poet; Visual Artist: Mixed Media
Truong Tran (born 1969) is a Vietnamese-American poet, visual artist, and teacher. His collection dust and conscience (2002) won the San Francisco Poetry Center Book Prize, and in 2003, he served as Writer in Residence for Intersection for the Arts. Tran currently lives in San Francisco, where he teaches creative writing at San Francisco State University, and is Writer in Residence at the San Francisco School of the Arts.
Artist Statement: Day In The Life … On days when I am not working as a poet and teacher, I try to wake up early. I empty my oversized messenger bag of books and papers and the previous day’s half-eaten lunch. I place the strap over my left shoulder, with the bag firmly secured to my back. I begin to walk. I walk for as long as it takes to fill the bag with stuff: branches, findings from the local thrift stores, choice items left in boxes on sidewalks and, if I’m lucky, something I’ve never seen before. Once the bag is filled, I return home, empty the contents from the bag, creating mounds of what some might consider piles of junk. I see them as source materials and the beginnings to my art making process.
I am committed to using these recycled materials as an environmentally conscious artist but also as an artist who strives to make art accessible through both its practice and use of materials. Quite frankly, I get a kick out of forcing these disparate objects to come together, compromising and accommodating one another in their process of becoming something new, something beautiful.
I refer to what I do as art making because I do not paint, draw or sculpt in a traditional or learned consideration of artistic craft. My craft is founded in the doing. I glue things together. I make things fit. I dip things in wax. I cut. I build. I weave. I think. I fill things up with paint using ketchup bottles. I stare at things in hopes that these things will talk back to me. This is what I do. It makes me happy. It allows me to lose myself in the process of doing. It makes me sad. It allows me to find myself in the process of seeing.
I insist on it being called art at the end of the day.