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Nguyen K. Nguyen earns 2022 Independent Artist Award from the Maryland State Art Council

Nguyen K. Nguyen earns 2022 Independent Artist Award from the Maryland State Art Council

Professor Nguyen K. Nguyen of Loyola University Maryland recently won the 2022 Independent Artist Award. Professor Nguyen has taught communication courses in graphic design, video, animation, comic creation, and digital media at Loyola for the past four years. 

Nguyen has a diverse career background. As an undergraduate, he attended an art institution majoring in visual art and music. He has a great deal of professional experience in the realm of communication, previously teaching high school as well as being a video producer for Science Magazine in Washington, D.C.  

As he has shifted from teaching his expertise as an art form to a communication form, Nguyen has gained an appreciation for the discipline. Nguyen enjoys working with students of all different types of majors at Loyola, and overall appreciates people who have a passion for creativity. 

Nguyen was recently awarded the Independent Artist Award by the Maryland State Art Council. The award resurfaces every three years in one of the following categories: literary arts, performing arts, and visual arts. Due to his diverse background in the art field, Nguyen usually submits a piece of artwork each time the award comes around, but this was the first time he was recognized as one of the 12 winners. 

Literary arts comics are Nguyen’s main output. He submitted his comic work for this award. He shared about one submission called “The Gulf,” which is a comic strip about a Vietnamese-American family, who live in Florida on the Gulf of Mexico, based on his own family. Nguyen often incorporates his personal experiences into his artwork. He also submitted a graphic memoir of living during the pandemic, a current project he is working on. 

Nguyen felt honored to be recognized by such an important group of artists as the Maryland State Art Council. He said:

“I am more surprised than usual because I don’t necessarily think of myself as a writer foremost. I think of myself as a visual artist. That the writer community in Maryland has chosen my work, and deemed my work worth being supported, means a lot.”

When asked about advice he would share with aspiring artists in the realm of communication, he encouraged students to stay open minded and curious. Nguyen said:

“Try to stay curious and be open minded, but don’t sell yourself short. Whatever you are doing, do it 100%, especially in this special time you have as an undergrad to really just study and think. That is a special thing because you are going to have all these responsibilities later, but now you just have this time to think.”

He emphasized how important it is to use the time you are given in college to take time to think about each aspect of your work and try out new things. It is important not to get zoned into one specific field and remain open to stay creative. 

Make sure you check out Nguyen’s recurring comic for the website McSweeney’s. His comic, In our Own Time is about his and his wife’s fertility journey. 

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Nguyen K. Nguyen earns 2022 Independent Artist Award from the Maryland State Art Council