This week, I had the opportunity to visit an exhibit in the Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery on the CSULB campus. The exhibit was put on by CSULB’s own Tony Nguyen, a metal BFA student who originally started off drawing and painting.
The exhibit, titled “Neoteny”, was beautiful and featured different pieces made of metal. The exhibit was given the name “Neoteny” because of a conversation Nguyen had with another artist. The impression the fellow artist had of Nguyen was that his personal style was the definition of neoteny: an organism or individual that maintains juvenile behaviors into adulthood. Nguyen welt that that perfectly described his work as his artist so naturally, he designed an exhibit around the theme of childhood and youth. Nguyen himself described the overall goal of the exhibit to bring a sense of nostalgia to the people who come to experience it. The work in the actual exhibit was influenced by childhood experiences, stories, hobbies, and philosophies that the artist grew up with.
When I asked the artist about this particular piece (pictured above), he told me that the inspiration came from his use of these machines as a child. He used to work hard to get quarters just so he could put them in the slot. This became a metaphor for Nguyen because he started to believe that if you worked hard enough to get what will lead you to happiness, you will eventually be led there.
*Tony Nguyen has not advertised any social media.
More pictures from the exhibit: