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Animation (MA)

Zoe Pham

Zoe Pham is a Vietnamese animator and illustrator, currently based in London. Having grew up in Hanoi and Chicago, her art reflects the vibrant, chaotic aesthetic and energy of the cities she lived in as well as the unique people and creatures she encountered in life.

Zoe specialises in 2D hand-drawn animation, with pink characters and fluid movements. Her work explores the themes of the many shapes and forms of love, friendship, self-hyping and sexuality. She is interested in taking a playful approach and finding humour in all matters of being. Her mission in filmmaking is telling stories that can bring people together and celebrating the human experiences across cultures and borders. 

Prior to RCA, Zoe graduated with a BFA in Animation from DePaul University in Chicago. Her film "Pick Your Poison" has been screened at multiple international film festivals including Bit Bang, LIAF, VOID, Atlanta International Film Fest, Nashville Film Fest. Her independent and professional work started in 2020, since then she worked on many projects creating music videos, fashion films, educational videos, title sequences, queer events promotional materials, editorial illustrations for various clients and artists internationally.

Degree Details

School of CommunicationAnimation (MA)RCA2023 at Battersea and Kensington

RCA Kensington, Stevens Building, Ground floor

Zoe Pham

Imagine you are having a conversation with a friend, and it is such a fascinating talk, but you look at your phone and it is 5 hours counting to your flight. You are moving to another country, for a long time. You suddenly are hit with the feeling of nostalgia for this moment. You don’t want it to stop. You want to pause time, put this moment in a box, keep it safe so that when you return, you can open it up and continue right where you left it.

I want to explore this space of nostalgia and the desire to preserve the moment in time.

During my time at the RCA, my research focuses on the meaning of home in the Vietnamese diaspora and experimenting with different techniques of transferring images such as risoprint and acetone print making. By reproducing and deconstructing images with multiple techniques, I want to replicate the distorted and fading images in our memories.

My film “Plastic Wrapped” is a narrative film combining my love for 2D hand-drawn animation with my new-found curiosity for printmaking techniques. Moving through different sceneries, from Hanoi’s bustling streets to the intimate and familiar spaces of a home, a young woman tries to capture things and people with a plastic bag to keep them from changing as she prepares to leave home and move to another country. I use the metaphor of a plastic bag as the young woman’s attempt to preserve things from changing under the influence of time and distance.

Plastic bag is commonly used in Vietnamese household, for wrapping food, TV controller, textbooks,… all for the attempt of protecting things from the humid weather and keeping things anew. Drawing from my personal experience with the use of plastic bag in my family household, juxtaposed with their environmental impact, I want to tell a story about learning to let things grow in their own natural ways.

Plastic wrapped - still 1
Plastic wrapped - still 2
Pick your Poison (2020)