19 Jun Brian Vu Photographer Interview: True False = No Rules For Psychedelia (Colorburst 001)
Completely self-taught, Vu will be the first to admit that he isn’t the “best” photographer, and as a result, he relies less on fancy cameras — many photos in the series were taken on cell phones, in fact — than he does on software, post-production, and basic photography fundamentals like composition and color. The visual language of True False speaks like binary code, oscillating between full-blown color and stark monochromes, to express Vu’s love for exploring extremes and constantly putting himself in a dualistic frame of mind.
When viewed on a spectrum, all of the images in the True False series ebb and flow like the changing of personal emotional seasons and circumstances. Common themes of hands, flowers, and rainbows emerge time and time again, but in gloriously varied ways each time. All of these are variables to be experimented with, and each final product is a gradient of these combinations, fine-tuned based on what Vu believes is appropriate for the given feel and time.
“I wanted every image to be able to stand on its own even though it’s a part of a collection of works,” explains Vu. “I go through moods and experiences that make my work naturally come out this way. I never start a new body of work with an idea. It’s only after it’s finished that it’s realized.”
“It was important to show a wide range of colors and ideas to represent how I was feeling at that specific moment in time, day, or week,” he muses.
When reviewing Vu’s past works and comparing them to the True False series, one can easily discern that Vu has recently hit his own personal stride. Despite its thematic ambiguity, True False demands that all eyes be focused on it and it alone; it is polished to high sheen and inherently possesses a fresh level of compositional and artistic confidence. The series is a reflection of the artist’s newfound dedication to his artistic practice and his own abilities, even in spite of what he may have been told by naysayers in the past.
“This series was probably the first I’ve ever taken photography and art seriously,” he explains. “I’ve really found myself in these photos. Experimenting every single day for years and fucking up endlessly has turned me into the artist I am today. I’ve always known that I’ve wanted to be making art since I was a child. I tried collage, graphic design, web design, drawing, etc.; I came back around to photography because it felt the most natural to me. I’ve heard all my life from people saying I couldn’t do this, but what they don’t realize that it makes me genuinely happy.”
“This was the most publicly acknowledged body of work that I’ve ever put out. I can finally feel comfortable sharing my photographs online without being so judgmental of myself,” Vu continues. “I’m happy and grateful to have a group of people follow my work and are open to my experimentation. Everyone’s been really supportive.”
Diving Beneath The Symbols
Recurring models and items play a large role in the True False series — many of which are objects, animals, and people that Vu holds near and dear to his heart. These are symbols that hold personal significance — and, as Vu explains, “There’s a lot of secrets in my work that I want people to interpret.”
Nonetheless, we’ve curated a spread of six hand-selected images, with three chosen by us and three chosen by the artist himself, complete with commentary.