Interview - Thomas Tran

Thomas Tran is a Vietnamese-American artist who was born and raised in Alief, Houston, Texas in 1996, an area known for its rich diversity. Since a young age, he has loved to make art centered around his everyday thoughts and feelings. He creates illustrations, comics, and murals. He studied at the Columbus College of Art and Design from 2014–2018, graduating with a BFA in illustration. For his senior thesis, he kickstarter-funded the self-published book ‘Bubba Stories’, full of detailed 20-40hr render graphite illustrations and comics. Illustrations from this book also won an Honorable Mention at the AOI (Art of Illustration) show in 2018. In 2019, his comic ‘Bayou Kings’ received a 16-page feature in Bonfire’s 2019 annual anthology. He was also an artist for anthology zines in 2020 such as ‘Victory Road’ (Thomas also led the team that put it together) and ‘Cactus Juice’. Both were created to raise money for racial justice organizations. In 2019, he was a recipient of the ‘Support Artist and Creative Individuals’ grant from the City of Houston for a project to create murals in the Alief-Houston area. This led to the creation of the ‘New Alief Community Mural 2019’ at Universal Plaza in Vietnam/Chinatown in Bellaire, a 20 x 80ft piece. In 2020, he created ‘Crocodile Garden,’ a mural for the Alief Art House. Before starting his “car life” chapter, he was based in Houston and worked as a freelancer. Since February 2021, Thomas has been travelling and living out of his car; and this interview was taken in his car as he was a month into this chapter of his life.

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