Artist: Tiffany Le
Media: Ink, Color Pencil, Charcoal, Watercolor, Clayboard, BFK Paper, Pastels, Watercolor Pencil, Acrylic, LED Lights, Sculpture, Canvas
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery
About the Artist
Tiffany Le is a third year CSULB graduate student. She is from Garden Grove, and has been creating art since the age of three. This May, Tiffany will receive her MFA in Illustration. After graduating, she hopes to continue her freelance work and seek studio jobs. Aside from art, Tiffany’s hobbies include Kendo, hiking, going to gallery shows, and taking care of her bunnies. Tiffany’s art explores her Vietnamese-American descent and conveys untold narratives of her family’s experiences during their immigration to America.
In accordance with the themes of chaos and turmoil of her family’s immigration conveyed in her pieces, Tiffany’s art integrates both sinuous and jagged lines. The many natural elements depicted in her pieces, including fire and, most dominantly, waves, are sinuous in nature. They curve and spiral, giving them an appearance of being all-encapsulating. Large animals featured in her pieces are also crafted from sinuous lines, giving them a similar powerful, consuming feel. Jagged lines are also featured in Tiffany’s pieces, offering stark contrasts to the sinuous lines. Most notable are the jagged lines featured in her illustrations of boats. The sharp lines that make up the boats are highlighted by the sinuous waves that serve as their backdrops. The integration of both sinuous and jagged lines creates a chaotic rhythm in many of the pieces. The dominant use of dark tones, such as red, black, and gray, convey a bleak, hopeless feel in many of the pieces. Even the occasional use of bright tones, such as the oranges and yellows of the fire, convey a terrifying and all-consuming feel. The use of acrylics allows the artist to create illusions, and beautiful integrations, of both crashing and gentle waves in her pieces.
In creating her pieces, Tiffany Le sought to illustrate the untold stories of her Vietnamese-American family. The intense, yet often down-played trauma her family members experienced in their immigration from Vietnam to America is depicted in her pieces. Tiffany drew inspiration from her family’s experiences, such as that in which her father failed to escape on a boat nearly sixty-seven times, as well as that in which her cousin was thrown overboard and nearly drowned. In crafting visual narratives of immigration during the Vietnam War, Tiffany seeks to not only elucidate the immense struggles and endurance of her own family, but of all immigrants, as well. In creating art that depicts the journey of immigration, she hopes to portray the individuality and humanness of immigrants. In this way, she seeks to convey a message that emphasizes the error of perceiving immigrants as a collective group of foreigners that deserve to be shamed. Tiffany’s art ultimately serves as beautifully crafted visual narratives of the strength and perseverance of immigrants.
Synthesis / My Experience
To say that I love Tiffany’s art would be a major understatement. It was an absolute honor to see Tiffany’s craftsmanship in-person, and listen to her speak about the foundations of her art. As soon as I walked into the gallery, I saw the beautiful paper boats in the center of the exhibit. Even more breathtaking was when the lights went out and the boats shone brightly in the dark. My perception of this piece was that the boats’ lights shone as brightly in the dark as the hopes of immigrants traveling through darkness and despair. Tiffany’s other pieces were breathtaking, as well. Rich in color, integrating various lines, and showcasing powerful, naturalistic elements, Tiffany’s illustrations evoked feelings of sadness and hope in me simultaneously. I felt the sadness associated with the struggles of immigrants, the hope that they must feel upon entering a new land, and the pride that they must feel upon overcoming their struggles and establishing new lives for themselves. Tiffany’s feelings towards her family, and immigrants in general, are very clearly conveyed through her art. I am proud to say that I share her high regard towards people who have survived these immense struggles and come out on top. Tiffany’s art eloquently portrays why I have these strong feelings, and justifies them. I am so honored to have experienced her beautiful, brilliant art. I am confident that the countless immigrants who are so often mistreated and abused would be immensely grateful for Tiffany’s representation of their struggles and their essence.