In conversation: MyLyn Nguyen


Image: Miniature recreation of Crabtree Corner in Launceston, Tasmania by artist MyLyn Nguyen 

Inspiration can strike an artist anywhere, in any form. For miniaturist MyLyn Nguyen, it often starts with an unlikely source: air conditioning units. 

Nguyen's process in developing her small-scale creations begins with scouting buildings in locations. "When I pick buildings, there's always an element that I really like," she said. "It could be one little green tile, or a little fig tree that I really want to make. 

"Half the time, I pick buildings based on air conditioning units, because I really like them! It makes the building come to life. People are living in them. People need them." 

Several of Nguyen's pieces are featured in Miniature Worlds, QVMAG's exhibition showcasing local, national, and international works of real and imagined worlds in small-scale.  

One of her artworks is based on a pink Sydney structure that houses a Thai eatery and a chicken restaurant.  

"I liked the building because it looked like a froufrou wedding cake,” she said. “Then I walked around the back - and the back of the building won me over. I knew I had to make this mish-mash of pipes.  

“It took a week just to make the piping system, but it was well worth it." 


Image: I am hungry (hotteok) by artist MyLyn Nguyen. 

Nguyen also enjoys the process of creating small-scale food − "because I love food so much!" she laughed. "A lot of my buildings are based on and around food. 

"There's something about display cases that I really like. Making a display case with cookies and vanilla slices is always a favourite of mine." 

Viewers may not realise that miniaturists aren't always able to view their sites in person. Nguyen's I am hungry series depicts various food stands, and in the development process she noted, "I had to stalk a lot of people on Instagram and Google to get reference photos and try to make them as realistic as possible." 


Image: Artist MyLyn Nguyen inspects Crabtree Corner, her latest piece created for QVMAG’s Miniature Worlds exhibition

As a featured artist in Miniature Worlds, Nguyen was asked to select an iconic Launceston location to replicate for the exhibition. She chose Crabtree Corner, a historic building located on the corner of St John and York Street in Launceston's CBD.  

"I was walking through the city, looking at buildings," she said. "I came from the back angle and saw they had torn down a building next to Crabtree - exposing the air con units. So, I had to choose it!” 

"Once I walked across the street to look at the building, I thought, again, it's another birthday-wedding cake-y building. I loved that it had its name on it. I thought, ‘Okay. I have to make it.’” 

Miniature Worlds is on display at the Queen Victoria Art Gallery at Royal Park until 4 February 2024.