Despite her love of painting, Annie Nguyen planned to become a dentist. But after a visit to Wynwood, where the colorful street murals opened her eyes to an art world that exists outside of galleries, her real passion took over. The Vietnamese-American artist—who goes by the tag Annie Nugget—now has works on display at Nova Southeastern University, the Alvin Sherman Library, Taco Love, Xpress Hookah Lounge, and a handful of Vietnamese restaurants around town. Through her work with the Ngon Restaurant Group, she’s also been given a platform to showcase the culture of the local Vietnamese community. Recently, she was invited to create a mural during the Avenue of the Arts Visual Arts Festival and to curate a Lunar New Year installation at the Broward Main Library. “There’s plenty of walls to continue painting,” she says. Here, she offers insight into her practice.
FLI: Where was your first mural?
Nugget: A bubble tea shop I worked at. I spoke to the owners and I was like, “Hey, do you want me to paint your wall?” It was the first time I got to work with spray paint. I already had the technical skills with traditional painting, but I wanted to apply that to a large scale. I was so inspired.
Describe your artistic style.
I have a deep love for the street and anime-style kinds of art that are a lot more loose and very animated. I have a deep love for fine art as well, since that was where I was traditionally trained in. In my aesthetic design, I like to combine the two—whether it’s in murals, sculptures, or canvases.
What goes into planning a mural?
I try to look for things that are a little bit more about storytelling or that have a lot of Easter eggs toward different kinds of cultural references. For example, at the taco restaurant that I did in Davie, I ended up doing a mariachi-themed mural but it was a Día de los Muertos skeleton and he’s got a gold-leaf guitar and the flowers are all marigolds. Even [the way] they designed the arches where the mural resides, they’re inspired by the barrios of Mexico.