In summary

  • Swinburne Graphic Design alum Dan Truong founded HOISZN, a zine publication showcasing Asian Australian artists and their work.
  • Inspired by his academic research and community connections, Dan launched the publication in April 2023.
  • HOISZN has grown into a platform for cultural representation, featuring collaborations with local businesses and participation in Asian Heritage Week.

Swinburne University of Technology graphic design graduate Dan Truong has leveraged the entrepreneurial spirit cultivated during his studies to launch HOISZN, a zine shining a light on the underrepresented community of Asian Australian artists and their designs.

Dan, who graduated in 2021, found himself with extra time after transitioning from full-time study to full-time work.

Always engaged in extracurricular activities, he sought a new project that could channel his creativity and passion for his community. 

A personal journey to community recognition

Dan’s journey began with a simple idea: to create a magazine.

Initially hesitant to step into publication due to his lack of experience, Dan’s motivation to create HOISZN was inspired by his peers and the vibrant community of artists around him.

“I was exploring and just mucking around on illustrator, trying to do my own art,” Dan said.

“But I realised that I wasn't that passionate about establishing myself.”

“I realised that I love that my friends are successfully establishing themselves as artists, as creatives, and these people need to be celebrated and recognised. “

The name HOISZN was inspired by the alias ‘Hoisin Boy’ that Dan adopted during his university days.

It represents his goal to create a distinct identity separate from his own.

This approach allowed Dan to explore the uncharted waters of creating a publication without the pressure of personal failure.

Bridging academia and real-world application

Dan's academic background as a graphic design student at Swinburne played a crucial role in shaping HOISZN.

He conducted a research project on Asian Australian Identity in his Honours year, setting the groundwork for the magazine.

"I did a literature review of peer-reviewed journal content around Asian Australian identity," Dan explained.

"It was a project I went deep into, and I wanted to take it further.”

Empowered by his research, Dan leveraged his networks within the community of young, talented Asian Australians to establish HOISZN and produce its inaugural zine, ‘Issue 001: The Introductory Issue.’

Building a platform for marginalised voices

Since its inception on Anzac Day 2023, HOISZN has experienced steady growth.

But getting the first issue off the ground presented challenges.

"I opened up applications, and some people enthusiastically applied," Dan said.

"I committed myself to making it work, knowing that these artists were waiting for their work to be published."

Fast forward to issue four and finding contributions has become effortless.

"They've sent me their artwork, and some of them are quite eager because they're all so excited by the opportunity to be in a magazine," Dan noted.

As the HOISZN community and its social platforms continue to grow, new opportunities have emerged.

HOISZN has collaborated with local businesses like Scoopy, a dessert restaurant in Melbourne, and actively participated in Asian Heritage Week.

These partnerships have played a crucial role in solidifying HOISZN's position as a dynamic platform for community engagement and cultural celebration.

‘HOISZN 003: The Cutest Issue’ in collaboration with the dessert restaurant Scoopy.

Looking ahead: Expanding horizons

Dan envisions a bright future for HOISZN, with plans to expand its reach beyond Melbourne.

"I'd love to take it out of Melbourne and feature artists from across Australia," he said.

"The last issue saw contributions from Sydney and Perth, and I want to continue building on that."

The young publisher hopes to inspire others to create similar spaces for their communities.

"I would love to see people start their own zines and represent their cultures,” he said.

“A zine is a publication on the fringes, showcasing conversations and artworks that mainstream media often overlooks."

Swinburne's role in shaping future leaders

Dan credits his time at Swinburne for equipping him with the skills and confidence to launch HOISZN.

"The course was more than just graphic design; it was about brand building, research, and understanding the values behind a publication," he said.

"These experiences have been invaluable in my journey."

As HOISZN continues to grow, Dan remains dedicated to his vision of community building and cultural representation.

"It's a way for me to express my creativity and support my community," he said.

"And while I hope to eventually work on HOISZN full-time, for now, it's a passion project that I believe in deeply."

This initiative is a shining example of how Swinburne alumni are making a difference in the world, leveraging their education to create meaningful and impactful projects.

The complete collection of HOISZN zines, including ‘Issue 001: The Introductory Issue,’ ‘Issue 002: The Lucky Issue,’ and ‘Issue 003: The Cutest Issue.’

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