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Datsun Tran


Versatile creative Datsun Tran dabbled in advertising, radio, theatre, bar work, comics and animation, before returning to his first love – art. His latest body of work is a series of oil paintings depicting birds and wildlife set amidst awe inspiring landscapes.

Datsun’s latest exhibition,‘Beautiful Fierce’, is on now at Bromley & Co in Windsor.

3rd August, 2015
Lucy Feagins
Monday 3rd August 2015

As is the case for so many creatives, artist Datsun Tran’s career path has not been entirely straightforward. Growing up in Melbourne, art wasn’t something he was encouraged to pursue as a career, although his family did encourage his creativity in their own way. Datsun’s father taught him Chinese calligraphy and chess, and his brother taught him how to draw.

‘To be a Chinese scholar, you have to master the Four Arts – calligraphy, painting, chess and an instrument called the qin. I attempted three of those at least!’ says Datsun.

At university, Datsun studied advertising, thinking it would be a good way to channel his creativity into a regular, paying job. But, by third year, he realised it just wasn’t for him. He went on to dabble in radio, theatre, bar work, comics and animation, all the while honing his painting and drawing skills. Since then, he says, ‘it’s been a slow process of allowing myself to lead a more art filled life, and to express more of myself in my work’.

Datsun is an accomplished oil painter, and one constant theme in his work over the past few years has been the use of animal motifs. ‘I like to tell stories through animals. I can reflect on human behavior through them, and even glimpse myself in them’ he explains. ‘At the moment I’m focusing on painting animals in surreal stillness, caught in the midst of drama, and awe inspiring landscapes’.

Datsun is an unusually meticulous painter, and he likes a clean and tidy workspace! ‘I always spring clean my studio before I start each new project. I think and plan and research a lot before I even approach the canvas, but I actually paint quite quickly once I have the idea and composition worked out’ he says.

Originally from Melbourne, Datsun now splits his time between Melbourne and Adelaide. His latest body of work (including the bird portraits seen here) is currently on show in an exhibition entitled ‘Beautiful Fierce’ at Bromley & Co in Windsor.

‘Beautiful Fierce’ by Datsun Tran
On now until August 24th 2015
Bromley & Co Windsor
93-95 Chapel Street
Windsor, VIC

Datsun Tran at work in his Melbourne studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email