Kayce Hughes has been a client and dear friend of The Clough Team for many years. We are excited to share her story and shine a light on what a wonderful artist she is, but more importantly what a wonderful woman she is.
Tell us a little bit about you? I grew up in Miami then moved to New York. I have been in Tennessee for most of my adult life at about 24 years now. My career path started with working for Ralph Lauren in women’s clothing. I then became a mom and stayed home, leading me to start a children’s company that grew into a women’s clothing company named Kayce Hughes. I sold that business a couple of years ago and returned to my first love, painting. I was a studio art major in college and it was something I always dabbled in after school, but only in the last couple of years it has become my full-time job.
You have been involved with several creative businesses over the years, so why art, now? You have a unique story about the launch of your art business, tell us a little about that. Art was my passion in college. I loved it and stepped away from it for many years. I would say a lot of the timing of the launch was because of coinciding timing with Instagram, Pinterest and other social media sites that weren’t around before. So, I was doing some art things for myself and I would always do a couple of paintings to put in my stores, sort of as decorations. I then began to post them on my Instagram, which garnered attention from a friend of mine that worked at Bunny William Home. All of a sudden my art started selling because of social media and it snowballed from there.
How would you describe your style? I would say its definitely modern and abstract. I love color so a lot of them will have color. I also do some neutrals. Everything sort of has a little bit of a tie back to the sense of writing or calligraphy or letters or numbers or something in some sort of way.
What inspires you? You know, so many things inspire me. It could be a walk in the forest, looking at how light shines through the leaves. I might see something like a color combination in a dress or in interiors which then gets me excited about putting those colors in a painting. I think the thing that excites me most is when the process inspires me. Often it will be when I made a mistake, so it might be in literally trying to wipe oil paint off of the painting by dripping turpentine from a cloth. There is something in how the turpentine reacts with the paint and by wiping it off all of a sudden by accident, something beautiful has been created. I fall in love with that technique or process and try to recreate it in other paintings. I think it’s a good metaphor for life, that sometimes beauty is created when we think we are making a mistake.
Do you have a favorite piece or favorite story about a piece? I don’t think I really have a favorite piece, it is usually the last one I did and got excited about. One of my favorite things that people often go back to was very early on for Sarah Bartholomew. We were friends before I was painting and before she was a decorator. She was an early champion of my work and she got me to do a pair for her living room. I was really trying to create something that felt like Sarah but also felt like me. I did it and they needed to be long and go together because they were on opposite sides of the room, but they also needed to work on their own. That was a fun process of trying to come up with something. It did not work at first, but then I covered 90% of it with white and I ended up loving how that looked. I then did my writing thing over it with a darker blue and it has ended up being a piece that I have done many alterations of over the last few years. Trying to figure that out for her gorgeous room was a really fun process for me.
At The Clough Team we obviously love homes and we are big believers that beautiful art and furniture can transform a house into a home. Have there been any installations of your art work that you are particularly proud of? A lot of my work has been featured in magazines. I am proud of every piece, whether it is an 8×8 painting in a nursery or a giant 6×10 foot painting in a giant sheik living room. What I love is working to create the perfect painting for that spot. I think for some artists they are just creating their art and that works for them. Because I’ve always loved decorating and I love homes I think almost every project I work on is fun because I’m usually working with people to create something that works in that space besides just being something that is pretty. I’ve seen in my own house where I’ll often be selling something off of my mantel, I’ll just put something else there and I see how horrific the wrong painting can look in this room that I live in every day. But, then when you put something that is the right size, sometimes it needs to be an oil painting so it has weight to it versus a light airy something with glass. I get as excited to do a little something over a towel rack in a bathroom as I do a giant piece for a living room.
As we close, is there anything in the horizon for Kayce Hughes Art? There are a few projects in the works that I probably should not talk about. But in general, I really feel thankful every day that I get to do what I do. So fingers crossed that I can keep doing that!