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Galuocad's Artworks Create a Universe of Very-Vietnamese Whimsy

Staying in one place for an extended period can lead to what's known as the "boiled frog effect."

If the population of Vietnam is made up of 100 million frogs, then perhaps we are swimming in an eternal stew pot, and everyday, seemingly unrelated spices are tossed in, simmering gently, producing new flavors in the soup.

Artworks inspired by popular Vietnamese propaganda slogans.

From women transforming into “ninjas” every day by putting on sun skirts to feasting on meals laid out on newspaper spread across the floor, life in Vietnam is made up of the little quirks that can over time become quotidian to the indifferent residents who have lived here for too long. Then there’s the “boiled chicken effect” — a spinoff of the boiled frog effect that encapsulates the witty aesthetic of the illustrations by Galuocad (Gà Luộc Art & Design), whose nickname can be translated as “boiled chicken art & design.”

Hà Nội x Ghlibi series.

Through Galuocad's artistic perspective and expression, every movement of the world around is seen as a special moment. Everyday objects and events can be reimagined" to adopt new colors and lives. A tacky boy phố, rice cakes with anime eyes, Trần Anh Hùng cinematic posters, and a tea hill in Phú Thọ are subjects that seem random and unrelated, yet they all contribute to the melting (and boiling) pot that characterizes Vietnam’s eccentric liveliness, which Galuocad celebrates.

Hà Nội x Ghibli series.

Behind Galuocad is Dếch, a 30-something British artist who has lived in Hanoi and Saigon for nearly a decade. For Dếch, drawing is a hobby that keeps him “sane” after office hours.

Alice in Wonderland's characters reimagined as Old Quarter residents.

“There were a number of personal motivating factors for moving. I never really felt at home in England. My soul was not at ease. At a point, I felt like I needed to make a drastic change to find peace. I found that in Việt Nam,” Dếch explains to Saigoneer.

Dếch observes that his style “lacks consistency.” He creates artwork using oil paint, watercolor, and digital tools. “I do whatever interests or pleases me at the time like taking elements of existing works and subverting them, recontextualizing them.”

Classic movie posters redesigned, inspired by Hanoi's districts.

One of Dếch's advantages is his decent understanding and use of the Vietnamese language. “Language and culture are inseparable; they mutually influence each other,” he notes. Learning Vietnamese opened the door for him to explore the cultural and social traits of Vietnam.

But why Boiled Chicken over Fried Chicken or Rotisserie Chicken Art & Design? For Dếch, art is a way to understand life around him, and the idea of butt-naked poultry on the altar conveys much one needs to know about the food, beliefs, and life in Vietnam. Just as when looking at Galuocad's works, despite the innovative and foreign elements, one immediately recognizes that “this is a painting about Vietnam.”

Tết Flash series.

“To find an interesting subject, you just need to look around. Việt Nam is rich in tradition, culture, and language. Idiosyncrasies in daily life are amusing. There’s so much to see. So that’s what I looked to for inspiration because I was surrounded by it and it helped further my understanding of where I live.”

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