2 minutes with Yen Trinh
Occupation: Graphic Designer
Business: Yen Trinh Illustration and Design
Lives: Gold Coast
Your career has mostly been in community design and urban spaces, how did this evolve into food-related projects?
Rather totally accidentally actually, when I started dating a chef! I credit my husband Ben for teaching and inspiring me about restaurants and food. My design background has always been collaborative working with lots of different professions, so working with him on projects was an easy fit. I would add design angles to his food projects and vice versa he would add food insights to my design projects. When I was studying illustration, drawing recipes and restaurants started as a fun way to practise drawing, and this led to more food drawing projects. I’m excited to be working on illustrations for a food-related kids book.
I love your illustrations, what in a plated dish makes it a great picture?
Illustration is a form of storytelling so I love dishes that have a story or complexity in layers. In written menu form, I often think my husband (and other chefs) tend to understate dishes, so sharing a story that maybe chefs or restaurants don’t overtly tell us as diners, is what I enjoy exploring too. In restaurant drawings, I also find the bigger experience of architectural design, and memorable staff are fun elements that bring pictures to life too.
Your favourite ingredient to illustrate?
Recently I’ve really enjoyed seafood (especially fish) because they have lots of interesting and unique shapes.
How do you work with event organisers to add a unique touch to their events?
Mostly I make custom illustrations as a point of difference to invitations, posters, thank you gifts etc. But sketching is also a fun way to document events and talks, so I also draw live at events on poster sheets to help capture ideas or record a scene. More recently for weddings and events, I’ve also been wanting to explore a “sketch photo booth” idea where guests get to take away a more personalised drawing or portrait.
Which Australian chefs food is on your bucket list to draw?
I think regional restaurants have great stories to tell and draw. Aaron Turner at Igni and Phil Wood at Point Leo Estate are on the top of my eating and drawing list.
You have designed some Aussie summer seafood Christmas cards, sounds like a great pressie for the foodie in our lives...how can we get our hands on those?
Yeah, summer is definitely my favourite eating season, and I figured there should be more prawns on greeting cards! I currently sell them online via a print-on-demand service called Society6, you can check them out here.
24 hours on the Gold Coast, where do we eat and drink?
Breakfast pastries from Panya Bakery or Bam Bam Bakehouse
Lunch in Palm Beach at Burgster or The Collective
Ice-cream pit stop at Gelato Messina, Coolangatta
Drinks and dinner at Paper Daisy, Cabarita
And even more pastries from The Bread Social, Tweed (...the next day on the way to the airport)
You can follow Yen on Instagram @yenttrinh