Artist: Tony Nguyen
Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
About the Artist
Tony is a 5th year getting his BFA in Metalsmith and this show was his senior thesis. So not he is pretty much done with his undergraduate career! He seems very passionate about his work and is more than willing to talk with anyone about it. After he graduates he would like to work in Hollywood making props and after that he would eventually like to become a professor. The way he talked about his work made it easy to see that he is a kid at heart and it showed in his pieces. He had the creativity of a child and was able to make his ideas into exquisite pieces.
7. Lepus Vambrace, 8. The Black Hand, 9. A Crown fit for a Monkey
The theme of the exhibit was Neoteny which is the retention of juvenile features in an adult animal. All of the pieces did represent something childish in a way; however, the maturity was needed to make each piece possible. Even though all of the work in the gallery was made of metal each piece was unique when it came to the color or how the metal was treated. For example the piece that was the green lanterns ring was treated with ammonium giving it the greenish color. It’s incredible how he molded the metal to get the design he was looking for.
As I was talking to Tony I could tell that he was passionate about his work and he knows how to work smart. Almost all of the pieces in his show were from class assignments and he knew that he was having the show come up so he made all of the pieces go with his theme as well as completing the objective for each assignment. He mentioned that each piece takes about 4 to 6 weeks to complete so it is obvious why he choose to work that way.
Synthesis/ My Experience
I thought all of his pieces were really cool. Some of my favorite ones was the pill bug which was a metal upside down pill but bowl and the pot head which was a bronze pot with a face that had a succulent in it. I really liked the idea of Neoteny because I feel like connecting to your inner child is what makes making art fun. It gives you the chance to be creative with no judgement something many people do not have the opportunity to do when they are an adult. Staying connected to you inner child reminded me of one of the reasons why I love doing research and would like to continue doing it for the rest of my life. Since, essentially I get the opportunity to play with mud and count little critters. Of course there is more to it than that, but that was just the part that reminded me about how I still get to stay a child at heart and possibly get paid to do that for the rest of my life like Tony.