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Meet Christine Nguyen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christine Nguyen.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Christine. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
As a native Californian, I’ve always been a maker and a nature collector since I was a child. My dad gave me his Canon AE-1 camera when I was twelve years old, and since then I’ve been fascinated with animals, nature, the sciences, and the sea taking photos of the world around me. My father was a commercial fisherman growing up, so I spent a lot of time on his boat and seeing all the various things he pulled up from the sea.

During my senior year in high school, I focused a lot of my time on drawing, painting, and photography having from moved from northern California to Southern California. I studied art at CSULB and received my B.F.A in photography and my M.F.A at UCI where I focused on my photo-based works where I combine drawing/painting and photography as well as experimented with installation works.

After graduate school, I worked at the Getty Research Institute as a photographer and photographed their special collections for about a decade and a half while pursuing my art career which I have been focusing on solely the last year. I’ve been constantly active in the art community in southern California and constantly coming up with new projects.

Has it been a smooth road?
It was difficult to keep a healthy balance of having a day job, art practice and social life. I found myself frustrated like most artist trying to find time to work in the studio and create after coming home from a long commute and a long day at work and didn’t socialize as much.

And then there’s the constant frustration of asking oneself, why am I making art? And who is going to see it and if that matters? Not only you’re trying to find time to research and make work, but figuring out how to finance it and hoping it will be shown in an exhibit somewhere perhaps or seen by somebody, and of course, dealing with storage.

I realized ultimately, what is important to me is to create art for myself but also to be grateful to be able to share it with people. What has helped during periods of struggles and challenges is having emotional support from friends and other artists.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I’ve been an exhibiting artist for more than two decades and have exhibited my works locally, nationally, and internationally. My works ranges from drawing/painting, photo-based, sculpture and installation. I draw on mylar, make cyanotypes, create large installations murals of photo-based works as well as create immersive installations, grow salt crystals and work in ceramics. Besides exhibiting in galleries, museums, and educational institutions, I’ve been doing more public art projects such as working with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Metro, Cedar-Sinai and art consultants.

Some highlights from my art career thus far is having my Hammer Project at the Hammer Museum, my installations at the C.O.L.A (City of Los Angeles) Fellowship Award and Exhibition; Time and Space and Matter exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art; solo exhibitions at Crisp-Ellert Museum at Flager College in St.Augustine, Florida displaying multiple works and created an installation of bell jars with salt crystallized vegetation; Huntington Beach Art Center which was like a mini-retrospective, and at Galerie Quynh in Vietnam exhibiting my multifaceted works.

A few Public art projects include the Metro Silverline Manchester Station, Sheila Kuehl Family Wellness Center in San Fernando, CA, Malibu Library, Cedars-Sinal Medical Saul and Joyce Breast Center building renovation fence project in West Hollywood.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and the least?
I love how the various terrain and ecologies of the mountains, ocean, and desert are nearby. The diverse cultures and food, museums, galleries, music venues, and architecture both historic and modern that is easily accessible and how there is always something to do and explore in the city.

My least favorite thing about our city is the traffic and the increasing number of homeless people on the streets.

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