You are currently viewing Kristy Hughes: Chaos and Control

Kristy Hughes: Chaos and Control


1. Can you tell us about yourself?

I am a multimedia artist using painting, printmaking, collage and assemblage in my work. I

received my MFA in Printmaking from Indiana University in 2015, and MA and BA from Eastern

Illinois University. Since graduate school, I’ve taught at Butler University, DePauw University, and

Ivy Tech Community College. But, overall my focus has been to really push myself in terms of my

work and practice. I’ve participated in a few residencies including the Vermont Studio Center,

Stutz Artists Association, The Studios at MASS MoCA, and most recently the Liquitex Research

Residency, where I was artist in residence at Residency Unlimited, in Brooklyn, NY.

I currently live in Valdosta, GA. My husband Sean Hurley and I just moved to South Georgia for

his job teaching Printmaking at Valdosta State University. We have a gecko named Pepperoni.


2. Recently you have completed a residency in New York. Would you tell us about this


I was one of the nine artists to participate in the Liquitex Cadmium-Free Research Residency. My

six-week residency was in Brooklyn, NY in partnership with Residency Unlimited. I received a

generous amount of materials from Liquitex, including the new cadmium-free paints. I’ve never

worked with such nice materials before and they blew me away. I was in dreamland. I also had a

great studio, walking distance to Residency Unlimited, where I had meetings with curators,

gallery directors, and other artists. RU facilitated these meetings and I don’t quite know how to

sum up how incredible and profoundly valuable they were. Words can’t do it justice. The

residency culminated with a panel discussion at Residency Unlimited with Daniel Mantilla (one of

the other Liquitex Residency artists) in conversation with Thomas Micchelle and Jennifer Samet.

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend so much time in NYC – to see museums,

galleries, and to meet and work with an incredible group of people at RU. This residency was

one of the greatest experiences I’ve had as an artist and I know it will impact my studio practice

in years to come.


3. Tell us about materials that you use to produce your paintings? Why you have chosen these

particular mediums?

My practice is informed directly by my immediate and personal surroundings. In combination

with acrylic paint, printmaking inks, wood, and glue, I collect and use materials in my work that

have had previous existences, whether cardboard from my neighbor’s recycling, paper on the

street, or my own junk mail. I am interested in the moments when materials become like

experiences – relative and dependent on context, everything and nothing at the same time.My practice is informed directly by my immediate and personal surroundings. Share on X


4. What inspires you to create your work?

Short answer: being human.

Longer answer: My work is a nod to the human experience of simultaneous knowing and not

knowing. It is a negotiation between impermanence and rigidity, chaos and control, fragility and

strength. I am interested in moments and interactions that are neither singular nor binary and

instead are multifaceted and complex. I am driven to make because it is how I pay attention. It’s

all about paying attention.


5. Can you tell us a bit about your daily routine, and what your standard working day looks like?

My routine is shaped by studio and non-studio days – determined by my part-time job at a local

frame shop. On the days that I work at the shop, my routine is to work 8-9 hours, and get caught

up on life things – grocery shopping, errands, laundry, etc. The days that I don’t work at the

frame shop are my studio days. On these days I wake up early, head to my studio with coffee in

hand and work 3-4 hours before breaking for lunch. After lunch I usually work until 4:30 and

break for a short run, early supper, then look at applications for residencies, shows, and grants. I

visit my studio one more time before heading to bed – sometimes to just think, other times to

work as late as I can.

Regardless if it’s a studio day or not, I read each day and this informs my practice. Right now I

am rereading Anne Truitt’s Daybook, Turn, and Bachelard’s Poetics of Space.


6. What do you think the importance of creative art will look like five years from now?

It seems like our society is getting more and more polarized, making all forms of art and the

humanities in general, imperative. I hope that art continues to voice truths, to remind us of what

it is to be human, and to hold us accountable to each other. I believe that an art practice isn’t

just personal; that it is also about how the artist lives outside of the studio. Art represents critical

thinking, self-reflection, and free expression, and as such seems more important and relevant

than ever.