In conversation with VADA Muse and longtime friend of the brand — Cameron Lee Phan
VADA Jewelry - Tell us about yourself!
Cameron Lee Phan - My name is Cameron Lee Phan. I am a Vietnamese-American artist living in New York City byway of Texas. I am a deep feeler and a quiet observer of the world. I work with cameras on all ends and my main focus in life is to discover more about who I am and to document the world I see.
VJ - Where do you find inspiration?
CLP - I find most of my inspiration in the simple spontaneities of life. We, with the world, are ever-evolving, so I am very inspired by emotions and behaviors... to people's actions and reactions to the changing variables around them. I want to better understand humanity each day while documenting it.
VJ - What is your artistic background?
CLP - I began my artistic journey as a self taught photographer and spent all of my teenage years working on this craft while living in Texas. When I moved to New York City, my work began to shift in and out of photography. I became very interested in people, so I was no longer just photographing - I began taking notes, writing poetry, and acting.
VJ - What message do you try to convey with your work?
CLP - I simply want to reflect reality, even if my work is partially staged. I work with cameras for nearly every one of my creative processes, so ultimately I am looking to bend and stretch real perspectives... to bring a sense of ease in knowing that anything and everything can simply, beautifully, and peacefully exist as they are.
VJ - Who are your biggest influences?
CLP - Nan Goldin, Peter Hujar, David Wojnarowicz, James Baldwin, Thom Yorke, Erykah Badu, Tilda Swinton...
VJ - Name something that you love, and why.
CLP - I love a beautiful home because life is just so tough, and as much as life can bring you joy, sometimes it can really bring you down. So I think a home that is as beautiful and inspiring as yourself is important to keep you going. A home to hold you, to invigorate you.
VJ - Name something that you don't love, and why.
CLP - I do not love the word "cannot" or "can't." I have never been one to use it because I believe that anyone can do anything if they have the fire for it.
VJ - What types of art and culture do you like to consume?
CLP - I consume a lot of photography, film, and music. These mediums fill up all of my senses. I desire ethereal worlds and gritty worlds alike. I enjoy looking through the lens of someone else's exact perspective on life. It's beautiful.
VJ - How do you define success as an artist?
CLP - Having gratitude for every little blessing that has come your way thus far, for living another day, for leaving something behind on this Earth, for touching one person with your work.
VJ - Is there something that you have created that you are most proud of?
CLP - Creating my first film in my early twenties was a very proud moment for me... Creating images with photographers I had looked up to for years... Sharing my poetry with friends has been a very proud moment too.
VJ - What is your creative process like?
CLP - I live, I reflect, and I create.
VJ - What is the most useless talent you have?
CLP - Making water droplet sounds with my mouth by flicking my cheek... is that useless though? I'm sure I'll find a way to make something of it.
VJ - What is the best advice you've ever been given?
CLP - "Simplicity is best."
VJ - What did you want to be when you grew up?
CLP - A rock star.