Adjusting to college life can be difficult for anyone, especially for someone who’s homesick for a place that is an ocean away. Illustration student Anh Vo ‘23 has adapted academically during a very challenging year, all while carrying her heritage in her day-to-day life and always prioritizing the value of connecting with others.
Vo is a second-year student who was raised in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, before her family moved to the US three years ago. Her college journey began after Moore was among the first schools to contact her as she approached high school graduation. Vo had already begun building her portfolio and had even secured a win in a local drawing contest in Pennsauken Township, New Jersey. While she expresses nostalgia for many aspects of Vietnam, she still finds many things that have helped her integrate at Moore.
“Almost everything at Moore makes me happy,” she said.
Vo still finds many ways to incorporate her heritage into her daily life, including her choice of major. Her father is a painter, and Vo decided at a young age that she wanted to continue along his artistic career path. Her father was not a full-time artist, but acted as a great source of inspiration and support for Vo.
“I am a person who appreciates traditions, or talents inherited from my previous generation,” she said.
Vo is always open to inspiration but isn't always on the search for it. She describes her inspiration as “random,” with her mood, nature and other art striking her inspiration. Organic shapes and earth tones are a common theme when she is inspired by nature. Other pieces have more personal meanings, as she expresses personal stories.
Music is a recurring inspiration for Vo. She often draws art of her favorite singers, or pieces inspired by the mood of a particular song. Her music taste is diverse, with favorite artists from her home country including Vu Cat Tuong and Chillies.
“I've always believed that music in particular—and art in general—can connect people,” she added.
In her free time outside of school, Vo channels her inspiration in other ways. She periodically uploads to her YouTube channel, sharing vlogs recounting “normal moments” her life and reaction videos to new music releases. This creative platform has served as a method to record her memories to reflect on in the future.
“I’m going to have something ready to show my grandchildren—they'll see how cool their grandmother is,” she laughed.
Vo is also passionate about tarot cards and identifies as a “tarot healer.” Tarot serves as an inspiration to her, as she works to complete her own custom card deck, and to connect more with people of various backgrounds in various situations.
“I use tarot to heal, figure out a problem to solve or even search for someone they’ve a crush on,” she said.
Like many students, the COVID-19 pandemic has proven challenging for Vo. She felt her life was “out of control,” and struggled with schoolwork and regaining inspiration. Through her hard work, she eventually found “bliss” in finishing her art projects and even had a pandemic-inspired piece featured in Moore’s Student Run Gallery (SuRGe).
“I realized that no matter what I create—painting, music, writing, videos—it helps me relieve stress quite well,” she said.
Despite this year’s many disruptions to plans, Vo still has many goals she’d like to pursue. First on her list is to open a small shop to sell the art and accessories she makes, as well as complete her tarot deck project. After receiving her degree, she hopes to continue to study and work towards her biggest goal of becoming an Art Director. Above all, her goal to connect people laces through everything she does.
“I just hope my upcoming projects will be loved by everyone!” Vo concluded.