October 27, 2023

Phung Banh X The Tea Collective

By Becci Fowler
Phung Banh X The Tea Collective

Phung Banh is a visual storyteller with a heart for cultural understanding and a passion for social impact. This juxtaposition allows her to foster a sense of belonging in her creations where people can immerse themselves in the experience. Born and raised in Vietnam, she made her way to the U.S. in 2017 to pursue a higher education in Psychology and Arts. She has persevered through the ups and downs of the immigration process to fulfill her dream of becoming a creative—Art Director & Designer and a freelance Illustrator. Her work draws inspiration from her personal and collective memories of her cultural legacy as a Chinese Vietnamese woman born and raised in Vietnam and her deep appreciation for mother nature.

Q: Your artwork for The Tea Collective's Latte Collection Packaging is truly captivating. Can you share the story behind your artistic journey and how you developed your unique style? 

A: Thank you for your kind words! My journey toward developing a digital art style using Adobe Illustrator started with a curious mindset and a willingness to try new things. Right from the beginning, I created my @PB.Journal Instagram page with two simple goals—to get better at using the tool and have fun with it. Along the way, I drew inspiration from illustrators who captivated my imagination – notable figures like Bao Pham, Janice Sung, and Maggie Stephenson. Their storytelling methods really resonated with me. As I allowed myself to explore and experiment, my style naturally began to take shape. I found myself drawn to subjects that held personal significance: women, cultures, and nature.

Q: Vietnam has a rich artistic heritage. How have your Vietnamese roots influenced your creative expression and how you approach your craft?

A: As a Chinese Vietnamese artist, my creative expression is profoundly shaped by cultural values such as family, community, and nature, which I strive to integrate into my work, evoking a sense of unity and harmony. Through my art, I explore the familiar concepts of nostalgia, identity, and the diaspora experience, delving deep into my personal and collective memories as a woman with Chinese heritage born and raised in Vietnam and an immigrant living in the U.S. This interplay enriches my work and allows them to serve as a homage to my cultural legacy.

Q: The Tea Collective is known for its commitment to sustainability. How did you incorporate eco-friendly elements into your artwork, and what message do you hope it conveys to viewers?

A: The inspiration behind this featured art series stems from the philosophy of ecofeminism, a lens that connects social justice and environmental well-being. Essentially, I strived to evoke a sense of empowerment, empathy, and interconnectedness in those who view my art. Each piece is a visual narrative, inviting viewers to reflect on the relationship between humanity and nature. By channeling the essence of ecofeminism, I aspire to awaken emotions that spark conscious actions, fostering a more profound commitment to safeguarding our planet.