So much is made of teenage angst that we forget that childhood can be pretty angsty itself. The scrutiny of unfamiliar kids on the playground, the betrayal of friends who’ve transferred their loyalties to some mystery boy who just moved in down the block felt like the whole world had come apart at the seams and there was no way anything would be right ever again.
Mylan Nguyen remembers, and moreover she gets them both. In those days hopped up on Kool Aid, there was usually only one option available, the flight response, usually accompanied by copious tears. In the drawing above we also get the “and I’m taking my toys with me” declaration, which was hoped would raise the stakes, depending on the attachment value of the toy in question. All was lost, but even then we realized a bit of coercion in the midst of our strategic withdrawal certainly couldn’t hurt.
88point5 which is featuring Nguyen’s work this month is an interesting new venue that resides only in cyberspace. The brain child of Gallery 1988 owners Jensen Karp and Katie Cromwell, the site was created to resolve a problem they saw in typical gallery schedules. Since shows at brick and mortar operations were being booked so far in advance, they feared that promising artists would be overlooked or have to wait years to get any kind of exposure.
Thus, each month they’ve been showcasing the work of a new individual, offering their work at unbelievably tempting prices. Nguyen mentions in her bio that she wants to “tell a million zillion little stories through my art before I die,” and it’s this aspect that I find really appealing in her drawings. The characters compel you to work up impromptu histories in your head, the situations suggest more to come (how long will that cat stare at the bird before the inevitable happens in Strawberry Dress?). Just as Taking the Baby sums up our childhood insecurities so well, Hate You is the perfect representation of the teen years, when our emotional responses reach elemental proportions.