Artist: Tony Nguyen
Media: Installations, Displays
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
For this week’s artist conversation, I got the pleasure to meet and talk to Tony Nguyen. Tony is a senior student at California State University Long Beach currently enrolled under the Metal Program. With such energy and pride in his work, he showed us around and explained the theme and purpose behind his exhibition show.
Tony Nguyen says he believes he is still a child in an adult body. He says there is nothing wrong with holding on to your childhood memories, which is something that I agree with him. He explains how he was inspired by a man who explained to him the definition of Neoteny. Neoteny, according to his definition, is when an organism or individual maintains juvenile behaviors into childhood. Tony says he thought about it, and that he knew that Neoteny was in fact a perfect definition of his art work because he could not leave his childhood behind him.
While showing us around his exhibition display, Tony explained how all his work inside took him approximately two and a half years to complete. Each display took him about six weeks to accomplish, and everything inside was very detailed and interesting. Something that caught my attention was this very nice detailed crown. He called it a Monkey Crane Crown, and it was representing his triumph and strength throughout his educational career. He says he made it special for him because after five and a half years, he will finally be graduating from Cal State Long Beach.
Something that I enjoyed about Tony’s art display is that he had a story for everything. For example, the Monkey Crane Crown was made because he was getting ready to graduate, but why a Monkey Crown? He said that the Monkey Crown reminded him of a childhood TV show he loved watching as a kid. It was a beautiful experience getting to know his art work. Just like him, I would also want to carry all my childhood memories around with me. It is always nice to be reminded of childhood memories for me.