Meet John: The Steel Yard’s Art Production Coordinator

The Steel Yard is JAZZED to introduce John Nguyen, the Steel Yard’s new Art Production Coordinator (APC). As the APC John is responsible for the successful pre- and post-production of the Steel Yard’s functional and decorative Public Projects and support contract artists in the completion of their commissioned projects. When the main studio is open again John will also play a vital role in coordinating work between the Steel Yard’s job training program, Weld to Work, and Public Projects.

SY: John, tell us about yourself… What’s a typical day in the life of an “Art Production Coordinator” here at the Steel Yard?
J: My day is usually pretty busy. I’m either working on a Public Project on my own or helping another artist in the studio with one of their projects and making sure they have all the tools they need in order to complete their project to the best of their ability.  

SY: Do you have a favorite Public Projects that you’ve worked on so far?
J: I haven’t worked on too many projects thus far so the one that is up there would be the ramp guard rail for the Super Studio because it will be part of the studio and I can say “Hey, I made that!”

SY: Do you identify as a maker? What do you make?
J: I do identify as a maker, whether it be food or artwork. I like working with my hands. I spent a big part of my adult life working in an office so this has been a very welcome change of pace. 

SY: When did you first start working with metal and welding?
J: I started working on metal and welding about 6 years ago when my friend Nate Nadeau needed help with a big job for Mohegan Sun Casino. I’ve been hooked ever since. 

SY: What do you do in your free time? 
J: My free time is usually spent with my wife and twin girls. I do a lot of cooking as well. Its a skill I learned from my mother who is an amazing cook. If you haven’t been able to tell from some of my answers I like to eat. 

SY: Where are you from?
J: I’m from Riverside/East Providence. 

SY: Where did you grow up?
J: I grew up in the Seekonk, MA.  

J: I have to say I’m most excited about the amount of space that we’ll have. It can get a little tight in the shop now on Rathbone St. so all that open space is something I’m really looking forward too. Also that all the departments will be together again. It’ll be nice to walk through and see what everyone else is working on. 

SY: We talk a lot about ‘Yardies’ here- curious, what does YARDIE mean you to?
J: From what I’ve seen being a Yardie is like being part of a family. I grew up in a very close family and being part of this one is something that I am very excited for. 

SY: What are you most excited about doing here at the Steel Yard?
J: I have to say I’m most excited about learning. There’s just so much knowledge floating around and I plan on grabbing as much of it as I can.  

SY: What do you think some challenges might be?
J: The only challenge I see is having the time to try and learn it all but I don’t plan on going anywhere soon so I’m looking forward to soaking up as much as I can.  


SY: Favorite food?
J: My mother makes the best Pho. So I’d have to go with that. Honestly, I’m just a big fan of good food in general.

SY: Favorite movie?
J: That’s a tough one. My movie preference range so much it’s hard to just pick one. 

SY: Favorite book?
J: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. It was a real eye-opener in the inner working of the restaurant business.

SY: What skill would you like to master?
J: I’d like to master TIG welding. Its something I’ve always been fascinated with.  

SY: Favorite tool in the shop?
J: I love them all but right now it’s my combination square. I use it for everything.  

SY: Annnnnnnd finally, is there anything else you’d like to the Yardie community to know about you?
J: Just that I’m super excited to part of this amazing community. It’s not too often that you find a job that you love going to every day. 

art production coordinator, interview, News Article, public art, public projects, staff, the steel yard, the yardie way, yardies