Artist: Tony Nguyen
Media: Metal, Ceramic, and Wood
Gallery: CSULB School of Art – Merlino Gallery
About the Artist
Tony Ngyuen is currently a fifth year student at CSULB, pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Metal. Originally an illustration major he changed his focus to metal, and hasn’t looked back. His exhibit, Neoteny, means someone/something that keeps their childish behavior even as an adult. Tony’s feels that this is a good descriptor of his work and of himself. The work in this exhibit reflects Neoteny and having taken two years to create, it is safe to say that Tony’s has kept this same style for a while. In the future, Tony hopes to build props for Hollywood and later on become a professor.
Most all of the pieces in the exhibit are made of metal and give everything a sort of cold and sharp feel. Although this cold feeling was subsided by the content that each piece expressed. All of the pieces were very detail oriented and ranged in size from a small ring to a headpiece or glove. Most of the pieces in the exhibit were made of aluminum as well. Even the number labels were made of metal.
All but one of the pieces in Tony’s exhibit were made to pay tribute to his childhood and the memories he has of those times. The Many Tonys piece was an expression of himself and the different versions showed the many fun and childish ways he still thinks about the world. Kimlee the Pothead and Conrad Jones the Watering can are another perfect example of how Tony expresses his childhood and childish thoughts through his art. Even on some of the pieces that were required to make for his classes his style and childishness shines through to the audience.
Going through Tony’s exhibit made me remember moments in my own childhood and even thoughts I have today. I remember making a pot for a plant and making pothead jokes to others, and Kimlee the Pothead, does exactly that in a more professional and elegant way. Green lanterns ring and the Black Hand also really took me back to my younger self because thinking back I wanted my own of these items but not know how I could possible make them unless I lived in an alternate universe or comic strip. Seeing these items in real life brings me a lot of joy, knowing that someone else has had a the same thoughts and was able to make that thought into reality. It is important to keep a sense of childhood and innocence when going through the world, and this exhibit does just that.