Kieu Tran

Instagram: studiokieu


Bio: Kieu Tran is a first-generation Vietnamese American artist based in Oakland, CA. Formerly a full-time software engineer with an art history degree from UCLA, she transitioned to a full-time artist in 2021. What started as creating functional works on the pottery wheel later progressed into a practice more focused on blurring the lines between abstract and figurative. She has explored ceramic, stone, wood and bronze. Kieu's biomorphic ceramic sculptures serve as a mode of self-care, learning, and asserting her identity as a first-generation Asian American woman. Her work, aiming to give form to the human soul, explores themes of identity fluidity, societal pressures, and the universal human need for love and connection. Tran has exhibited at the Bakersfield Museum of Art, Art Miami, Art Market SF, and various Bay Area galleries. Featured in Interior Design Magazine, Surface Magazine, Sight Unseen, EST Living, and Design Anthology Asia, her art resides in private collections worldwide.

Statement: I sculpt sensuous, biomorphic forms that strive to give form to the human soul. As a first-generation Vietnamese American woman, I delve into my personal history, extracting emotions that surpass the specificity of my experience. These sculptures, while inspired by my cultural and individual identity, transcend into meditations on universal emotions, emphasizing the interconnectedness of our shared human experience. What captivates me about clay is its perpetual transformation on the journey to its final form, making it a poetic conduit for expressing the complexities of our human experience. It’s a material that allows a profound, wordless conversation akin to the soul. Clay is also an interesting material because it holds memory. Like people, clay bears the imprints of external forces that shape and mold it, encapsulating memories that define its essence. This shared transformative quality is why clay is my preferred medium for artistic expression. The sculptures serve as psychological self-portraits, capturing moments frozen in time. Utilizing traditional coil, pinch, and slab building techniques, I deliberately construct them hollow, infusing each coil with a tangible record of my movements, time, memories, and emotions. Inflating the sculpture's cavity with my emotions and thoughts, I subsequently close it, releasing a tangible embodiment of my inner world. This medium and technique, crucial to my process, allows for introspective learning, enabling me to understand myself, my origins, and my current journey in a detached, non-judgmental manner. I excavate my history and inner world to hold a mirror for others to do the same.