Artist: Tony Nguyen

Exhibition: Neoteny

Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery


This Week’s Artist conversation was with Tony Nguyen. This is his 5th 1/2 here at CSULB and hopefully his last semester as well. Nguyen considers himself as a metal smith and not a black smith. The main difference between the two is that Metal smith is opened not only to hard metal blacksmith, but also jewelry making like Nguyen, and much more. Nguyen wants to make all of his work not only be visually appealing but physically functional as well because what’s the point of looking good if it can’t function.

His goal with his gallery show is to help the viewers create their own stories with what they see in their “childhood/youth,” Nguyen explains. All of Nguyen’s art work has a story to begin with. Some of the Art work displayed in the gallery was personally inspired by himself and his family members. Nguyen’s culture also plays a big role because some of his Art work is influenced by it. For example the British Mailbox in the entrance of the gallery. In addition, the vending machine at the center of the entrance was inspired by his father telling him how today’s toys are much better than old sticks and tires from his father’s time.

Nguyen’s Art pieces are fascinating to see in person because for me, hands on Art pieces are one of the best especially if it’s Metal Smith. Adding Jewry to the case makes it even better. Nguyen is very talented and is without a doubt going to be an expert in his field. Hopefully after graduation Nguyen is planning to expand his knowledge with  Metal Smith business either becoming a professor in his line of work or just working in Hollywood making Armor.

This Gallery without a doubt is exceptional, and changed my views in both Blacksmith and jewelry. I would’ve never thought to use blacksmith as another form of creating Art master pieces as Nguyen did in his gallery. His gallery really deserves to be seen in person because then only then students will see how remarkable his Art work is.