Collector Interview: Diana Truong on IRL Collecting and Tricking People on the Internet

If you're a member of NeonMobsters, there's absolutely no way you've missed Diana Truong's daily contributions of curated art and musings. As a self-diagnosed former hoarder and an "insanely shy/awkward" person (her words, we swear!), you're likely most familiar with Diana's very adorable cat Clarence Sawyer who fronts all of her business on NeonMob and Twitter or her eye-peeking avatar on Google+. Luckily, we convinced Diana to answer a few questions for us via email on IRL collections, her work as an art director and her clever online identity.

Diana, Google tells us so little about you! Tell us about yourself.

I'm a 29-year-old Art Director/Graphic Designer and a former hoarder of random items. I'm a huge fan of first-person shooter games such as Halo, Gears of War, Call of Duty and Borderlands. I get way too competitive, though, so I must severely restrict my gaming sessions otherwise I'll never go to work, or leave my house for that matter... sadface.

What does it mean that you're a "former hoarder"? We assume you are exaggerating!

In my youth, I used to collect Lisa Frank stickers, postcards, coasters, posters, coffee mugs, band shirts/sweaters, coozies and other random things that inevitably just collected dust. I now only collect vinyl figures, cool package designs, gas masks and paper currencies from around the world.

How did your current collections get started?

I currently have 19 vinyl figures. It started when one of my best friends gave a couple blind boxes as gifts from the 8 Deadly Sins Labbit Series. I think out of the three boxes, I ended up getting Pride twice, so my friends and I traded our dupes. Then I came across the Drinky Crow and Mr. Clement’s Please Forget Me collections, so I started buying larger pieces, causing me to be a bit more selective nowadays.

Drinky Cow

Drinky Cow

I also have a thing for bags and boxes from well executed brands. I shouldn’t have so many bags and boxes…I don’t think it’s normal.

Speaking of normal, I have an absurd fear of post apocalyptic survival which is how I got into collecting gas masks. I currently have 8 in my collection which includes: 2 2005 Boca Raton riot squads, 2011 Russian Engineer, 1967 US Vietnam, 1917 US WW1, 1942 US WW2, 2010 Israeli Civilian and a 2012 Russian Child mask.

I also started collecting paper currencies when I moved to Florida. I love seeing the variations in the currencies from the type of paper used, the inks and holograms, sizes, changes in the history that is printed on each country’s currency. I have a $2 and $5 from the early 1900s along with most of South America, a couple from Europe and Asia.

As the Art Director for Tossed, do you consider yourself to be an artist? What's your favorite part of the job?

I don’t consider myself an artist, especially as it's been a long time since I’ve created anything that wasn’t work-related. It's hard for me to be in front of a computer after being in front of one for a majority of the day. However, I’m fascinated with cross hatching and have been trying to get the technique just right. So, if I do make anything, it’s line drawings with pens, pencils and charcoal, or airbrushing Audrey Kawasaki-esque flowers and zombies.

Back to my job, my favorite thing about being the Art Director is working with the Real Estate department in site selections. Traveling, spec-ing sites and being a part of the location build-out is pretty cool. Choosing the right site/location and then working with construction and interior design teams to implement the branding is fun but can be incredibly frustrating with building requirements or restrictions and other unforeseen factors. 

What art and design blogs do you follow for inspiration?

I love NeonMob, obviously. It's a cool, quick retreat from work throughout the day. I also follow The Inspiration GridInhabitatBehanceBored Panda and Artstation

What's the story behind your NeonMob and Twitter username, Annie Piphany?

I heard the word “epiphany" in my art history class when we were discussing the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and it became my favorite word. Fast forward a couple years, I started using "Annie Piphany" for entertainment purposes by making it hard for my people to find me online, watching their reactions when they finally realize what my name means and then the confusion that ensues.

Trade with Diana (as Annie Piphany) on NeonMob here.