Interview with Kristy Hughes

Could you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what kind of work you make?

I am a visual artist and printmaker working and living in Indianapolis, IN. I make nonobjective collage/décollage paintings and drawings that are about materiality, formalism, and about the underlying structures that organize and inform chaos.

Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works?

Relationships and also gorgeous moments found in unexpected places- run down buildings, stripped billboards, awkward situations.

Deaf to Reason 

Deaf to Reason 

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

My x-acto knife…or I should say knives. I usually have one or a few on me at all times. This sounds a little disturbing, but is so useful.

What types of obstacles have you run into in your artistic practice and how do you go about navigating around them?

Mistakes, failures, and rejections – these are the things that are the hardest to deal with in the moment but at the same time, they are the most imperative for growth. I’ve found that the best pieces that I’ve made have first been disasters. And the techniques that are now a crucial part of my studio practice can be attributed to mistakes. I am continually trying to embrace the un-comfortableness of not knowing. Failure is good! And it’s the worst. In my studio practice, I view mistakes as part of the process and failure as ultimately the impetus for something unexpected, something even better than what I originally had in mind.

Fake Palindromes 

Fake Palindromes 

What do you feel are the recurring themes in your visual work?  

Searching, letting go, finding beauty (structure) within chaos.

Is there a particular artist you feel you relate to? Who are your role models (artists or non-artists)?

Mark Bradford, Agnes Martin, Robert Irwin, and my late mentor and first person to encourage me to pursue art- Denise Rehm-Mott.

What is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve been given?

“The search is what everyone would undertake if he were not stuck in the everydayness of his own life. To be aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.” – Walker Percy
My friend/roommate/colleague in graduate school read this quote to me while we were both in our living room reading about Robert Irwin and about phenomenology- our brains exploding. This quote is one that I constantly come back to when I need affirmation in my studio practice.

Check out Kristy's work, currently in our exhibition, Under Way