Today I am delighted to welcome two special guests… Laura Stockett Roberts is a fellow lover of all things classic and traditional, and I have been following her on Instagram for years. Laura recently began a YouTube channel “Portrait of the South” and she also happens to be a professional writer! Moving forward, Laura will be contributing articles for The Glam Pad on occasion, beginning with today’s interview with artist Kayce Hughes. As both ladies are located in Nashville, Tennessee, Laura was able to interview Kayce in person and conduct a photo shoot of Kayce’s beautiful home.
Kayce Hughes began her career in fashion, eventually creating her own line of clothing. In 2016, she sold the company so that she could spend more time pursuing her true passion: painting. Kayce’s whimsical and instantly recognizable abstract paintings and prints have already garnered the attention of stores like Bunny Williams Home NYC, Draper James TN and Rivers Spencer LA, as well as several talented designers including Mark D. Sikes, Sara Bartholomew, Pencil & Paper Co. and Jonathan Savage.
Welcome Laura and Kayce!
Laura Roberts: I love your personal style and your art! Have you always been creative?
Kayce Hughes: Thank you so much! I have always loved creating things and had a pretty strong point of view of what I liked and didn’t like. I remember being a little girl and asking my mom for more and more swatches before picking the perfect fabric for my room. I ended up deciding on Bowood in pinks and blues from Colefax & Fowler and even today, many, many years later, it is still one of my favorite fabrics.
LR: I adore Bowood. Since we have only been friends for the past decade, I didn’t know you as a child, so I’m picturing little Kayce in a Bowood-covered room!
LR: When did you start creating? When did you start painting?
KH: I have been painting and creating for as long as I can remember. Painting was something I did a lot in high school and then I was a studio art major in college. After school, I ended up going into women’s design at Ralph Lauren and then later created my own line of clothing. The painting was something I always did for myself on the side. It wasn’t until about three years ago that painting became what I did full-time.
LR: I think the readers would be inspired to hear, however, that you feel that a person doesn’t really need any formal art education to be a great collector of art. What advice would you give someone just starting…someone who doesn’t have an art background?
KH: I am a big fan of collecting art and absolutely agree that no formal art education is needed! I believe the key to buying art, as well as much of the rest of life, is listening to your heart. I also believe it does not need to be expensive. I once found a painter that I really admired and he was willing to sell me some of his quick sketches at a very reasonable price. I also think visiting shows of local high schools and colleges is a wonderful place to find inexpensive pieces. Many areas have wonderful art shows full of talented artists with pieces that are very affordable.
LR: Your art has a modernist feel to it but so many designers are able to integrate it into traditional interiors. As I sit here and look around your home, I see that you have really mastered that craft. There are antiques mixed in with some of your own art along with mid-century pieces. Can you speak to that mix?
KH: The rooms and homes I most enjoy being in are ones that tell a story and feel as if they’ve evolved over time. Beautiful antiques, whether inherited or recently purchased, hint of characters from years ago, while newer and more modern things make a room feel alive and part of today. I think it’s fun to have an old painting with a beautiful gilt frame next to a cleaner streamlined piece of furniture. Or a beautiful antique or vintage piece of furniture paired with a more modern piece of art. It is the mixing of those two that I’m most drawn to.
LR: I have a spot in my home that desperately needs art and I think it needs the Kayce Hughes touch… but the wall is an odd shape so I think it needs to be custom. How does someone commission art? Do they need a decorator? What’s the process?
KH: I love working with designers or individuals to create a piece that works for a specific spot in a home. Often, people will send me a snapshot of the place where they are wanting a painting along with some of my previous works that they are liking. We can then create Photoshop examples of different sizes, styles, and colors. Seeing Photoshopped examples of different pieces in their space makes it easier to make a decision. Also, people will often send me wallpaper or fabric swatches to make sure the colors in the painting will work well in the room.
LR: I just love that you are able to use technology to take the fear out of commissioning art so that even a true novice can feel comfortable about what the finished product will be like.
LR: I know that you and I use the same local framer here in Nashville. What’s important to you when you consider the matte and frame?
KH: Framing is truly an art form in and of itself and I believe it’s worth spending a little extra money to have your art professionally framed. It will not only do a better job of protecting your art but a beautiful framing job can make the piece look even more special. I enjoy researching and finding beautiful frames to use for my paintings, including vintage frames and I almost always use a textured linen mat with my work. It is important to keep the overall feeling of the room in mind when choosing the right frame for artwork. I still like to place frame corner options and different mat widths next to an art piece before picking a favorite.
LR: Speak a minute about hanging. I love a good gallery wall and you have done such an incredible job of that here in your own home. But I also love the solitary pieces. Is there a rule or do you just go with what feels right?
KH: I have always loved the look of a gallery wall and I think I was especially drawn to them in rooms that don’t have a ton of other things going on… Like hallways. I think they’re a wonderful way to get to enjoy a variety of paintings or drawings that you’ve collected as well as things like kids’ artwork that might not have a perfect spot elsewhere in your home.
LR: I never thought of it that way… gallery walls do look good in hallways!
LR: Before we wind down, tell me, and the rest of the readers, what’s next for Kayce Hughes. I adore your work and want to know what’s on the horizon for you.
KH: I remember about 5 years ago thinking how wonderful it would be if I could get to wake up every morning and paint for a living. Five years later that is what I get to do every day and that is something I don’t take for granted. So if things stay the way they are now, that’s just fine with me. I did recently decide to venture into painting lampshades and I think that will be a fun little addition to my days in the studio.
LR: Lampshades! I’m already dreaming of dolling up all of the un-Kayce’d lamps in my house! Thank you, friend, for sharing your afternoon and your lovely home with me and with the readers.
Thank you so much, Laura and Kayce, for the lovely interview! Owning an original Kayce Hughes painting has been on my wishlist for years, and this gives me so many wonderful ideas. To learn more, please visit www.kaycehughes.com and please follow Laura Stockett Roberts on Instagram. You can shop Kayce’s artwork through her online store, and also via Serena & Lily. I have a feeling these will be collectors pieces someday!
In closing, let’s take a look at how some of today’s most celebrated interior decorators are incorporating Kayce’s art into their designs…