Mentoring 5th Graders

I work with Young Storytellers to instruct 5th graders from low-income families to write original scripts to be later adapted for stage by professional actors.

The Future of Design


For our Design History Final, we forecasted designs in areas of: architecture, interior design, product design, graphic design, and costume/fashion design. I approached my research by accessing FIDM's trend database to pick out the trends I think will be long lasting.

Trend is an important factor when it comes to consumer design. Therefore, trends forecast reflect on social commentary and current events to achieve the goal of creating high market value products. The most authoritative trend consultant for fashion and creative industry is WGSN.

For example, when Nike comes up with a selection of color for a shoe line, the color is not a random choice. It is selected through series of expensive data analysis and consumer research. Not only is this process frequent when it comes to consumer products or fashion, it is prevalent in film genres, tv shows and advertising.

In short, if you want to make money in a creative field, you must listen to what your consumers/audience want.

Of course, creative freedom is very important for any artist. But personally, I want to design with purpose and create things that speak volumes and reach everyone. Therefore, I am pro-data. 


Here are my choices:


Organic forces and elements provided by mother nature inspire this earthy trend. Energetic winds and volcanic clouds suggest volume and depth with elemental influences adding textures from porous surfaces to lustrous finishes.

Here are some key words I found to better visualize this design style: smoky textures / escapism / transparent fibres / enchanted textures / ethereal glow / lightness / shadows & overlays / pale minerals / soft focus / crystal forms / naturally porous 

I prefer this over sci fi and tech designs. I see this most prevalent in the area of graphic design and editorial photography. But let's talk about the animation world here, because this relates to the analog vs digital conversation, in terms of aesthetics and design usage. With CG and 3D modeling thriving, I think the best designers know how to integrate modern technology with traditional medium. There will always be a conflict between traditional 2D/stop motion versus 3D animation. Hand drawn and hand crafted have a special quality to them but large studios will always prefer 3D and digital because it's faster, cheaper and bigger.

But if you can use 3D as a tool and not see it as a genre, then you can pursue any medium or style that you want.

Examples of this are: how Disney used 3D modelling to create a hand drawn short "Paperman" or how Laika studio uses rapid 3D prototyping to create seamless stop motion animation at a large scale.

Images above are from Jim Hodges and Matt Wisniewski.



The products above are eco-friendly products made from re-purposed materials.

From left to right: Kyoto State Cold Brew Tower, Coffeega Cold Drip, banana peel fabric, pineapple skin fabric, coffee fabric and shoe skin, colored salmon skin fabric.

"Eco-friendly designs is a growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability, the goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility. The product is created and produced with consideration to the environment and social impact it may have throughout its total life span, including its carbon footprint." -Wikipedia

I believe as technology advances and more people are becoming aware of affordable green lifestyle, this trend will be and ongoing one.



Over the years, gender equality is being achieved over all sectors of society. I think that this color combination challenges the traditional perceptions of color association:blue is for boys and pink is for girls. It's important to note that this is Pantone's first time choosing two colors as their color of the year. This selection is a social commentary and drives conversations of issues about support for the LGBT community, toy sections at Target or transgender bathroom laws, etc.

Dreamy, milky and soft, pastels aren't just for nursery rooms anymore. They have grown to become sophisticated over the years. It has made it's way into advertisement for banking, interior design, product design, cosmetics, and tech, etc. As people seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent. 

"In many parts of the world, we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of designs (product, graphic, interior, etc.) This more unilateral approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer's increased comfort with using color as a form of expression, a generation that has less been concern about being typecast or judge and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to color usage." - Leatrice Wiseman Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute

Color trends, in general, have a large scale of impact on all creative industries.



3D printing in design is not new. It became popular in high end fashion and consumer design two years ago but now architecture is finally following up with it. We will see more of this architecture in the following years, ones with elaborate and explosive details. 

If we take a look at the costumes nominated for the Academy Awards in the recent years, they all encapsulate handmade qualities, from hand painted fabric and hand sewn embroidery. Not just costumes, but everyday objects as well. I think 3D printing will not become a desired majority when it comes to consumer design.

The architectures in the images above are: The Broad Museum, Los Angeles and the Michigan State University Museum.


Term 3

Here's my week 7/11 of term 3 update! These are some of the assignments I did the past few weeks. I feel much more confident in my drawings this term, especially digitally.

Some things I'm working on right now: preparing for more workshops and events, fixing my sculpture, fine tuning the script and story boarding my movie, a painting for my Color Theory final and reading a lot more books! I'm excited to share the final products with you later!

As far as workshops, I got 4 planned out for the next term. And people are offering to help during the workshops and demos! It's so rewarding for me to see people sharing with others what I showed them! I got asked to do a workshop at another school too, I had to turn it down but still, it was cool. Haha.

Oh, I got to chat with Iain McCaig! He and James Clyne came to our school to give us the heart of Star Wars and storytelling. It was a career defining moment for me :D

Other than keeping myself busy, I've been focusing a lot of mental health this term. I need to exercise more and drink less coffee, been feeling more sluggish lately.



What is good design to me?



Asian pagodas and European Gothic Architecture truly fascinate me. I am most intrigued by the mathematical theory behind its architectural design and by that, the structures are engineered to withstand a great amount of force and age. The structures' harmony and balance, is representational in the repetition of symmetrical design. The ornamental curvatures create exciting leading lines and presents a powerful sense of movement in a strong stillness. With pagodas, each material and placement is selected for its conventional behavior and the relationship with sky and earth (feng shui). Especially with the Phat Diem pagoda, the blend between French Gothic and Vietnamese architecture makes this structure all that more eclectic. 



For me, a successful costume design reflect the ideas and goals of the character. The design should communicate the character's tone and style, time and place and personality. I love historical, periodic and regional costumes and I think the best designs translate evolvement with purpose for cinematic realism. Having spent most of my life in Vietnam where I wore uniforms 7 days a week, movies and their respective costumes made an influence on how I viewed other countries.



I appreciate interior designs that can transport me to a different world and are a bee to communicate a narrative of the space's intent and personality. With the Crew Dragon and the cafe here, there is thoughtfulness to the design's consistency of variation. The sleek simplicity of it feels meticulously planned for natural ease of use and comfort. The well balanced use of repetition establishes unity without becoming monotonous. The subtlety of curvature and directional movement are beautifully rhythmic.



For graphic design, I pursue the minimal typographic aesthetic and simplistic color palette. I like designs that optimizes usability and minimize time for complication. The graphics and packaging design of Clutch Body products reflect the science, quality and purity of the ingredients behind the supplements. As a consumer, the design speaks to me as: "Hey, you can trust us. We are here to improve your quality of life without taking away your time to deal with complications. We took care of all the math and hard work for you so that you can spend more time doing the things you want to do." As goes for the website interface design, it effectively communicates to me what I need to know with ease. 



My aesthetic product design is similar to graphic design, optimal usability with minimal time for complication. The products I choose to use should only serve as tools that enhance and supplement my ability to create, not distract me from it. Nike and Apple products are good examples of the products that I generally use. I am also intrigued by how both companies have pursuit for visual appeal and functionality,aided with successful branding and marketing, makes their product to be social currency. 


Took photos for my friends' launch of MLovewell, where they host a series of handcraft workshops. Check out their website for some cool calligraphy classes!

High School Experiences - Class of 2013

A lot of my high school experiences set stone the foundation for who I am today. I write this post because it's exciting for me to be able to share and see how far I've come from then. 

  • Class President, Key Club President (2 years), ASB Director of Publicity, Interact Treasurer, Clubs Liaison
  • Planned all school dances and rallies, hosted multiple series of 2 week painting workshops and directed school skits throughout the year
  • Organized relief fundraisers, donation banks, community marathons, clean up events and summer 8th grade summits
  • Developed and refined student body's publicity structure
  • Step Squad, Pep Flags, Varsity Tennis, JV Swim

It was senior year when I dived into art and explored media creation. My parents got me a refurbished t3i and I used it for the first time the following week to direct the video below! With my team, we rallied 200 students to put together a promo video to show at Open House. I mean, 11000+ views isn't bad for a first!