Firstly, I am such a tremendous fan of your paintings and aesthetic - for those who aren't familiar would you introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about your work as an artist? I am a former New Yorker who moved to Nashville 25ish years ago. I was an art major in school but worked for Ralph Lauren and later had my own clothing line and 3 stores. It wasn’t until about 3 years ago that i gave up the clothing line to paint full time.
At the moment I am focusing on abstract painting. I love color but occasionally find myself craving neutrals. I love the process of experimenting and like to work with a variety of mediums. Many of my favorite techniques were discovered while trying to clean up a mistake.
How did working at Ralph Lauren influence your later work in design and your eventual return to painting? RL is a master of imagining a whole world every time he creates a new line. I love how he borrows from the past yet creates something new. Tying together the old and new is something that I endeavored to do in my clothing and now in my painting.
Nashville seems to be having a moment and while you've been there for some time, have you seen it become more of a hub for the design space? Nashville does seem to be bursting with talented creatives and I think there is even more to come. I love getting to be a part of this vibrant community.
You've spoken in the past about your aunt, Lilly Pulitzer's influence on your work, and life. There was so much about her to be inspired by but at the top of my list was her hospitality. She would make every thing look fabulous but not too precious. She had a way of making you feel so welcome and special and that is more rare than a pretty table.
What are some of your favorite sources for vintage textiles? I love to shop at thrift stores and estate sales. And now late at night I can be found on wonderful websites like Chairish and EBTH.
How (if at all) has instagram changed your business? I would credit Instagram as the catalyst for me moving from clothing to painting. When I began sharing my paintings on Instagram they took off before I even realized that this was something I could do full time. I still marvel at all of the connections that Instagram creates for an artist.
What brought you back to painting after working in the fashion industry for so many years? For a little while I was doing both, (Bunny Williams home was the first place to carry a group of my paintings and I had also started selling a bunch on Instagram) painting soon became the more enjoyable of the two.
What advice would you give someone who is decorating their home in terms of selecting a piece of statement art? Art can be a tricky thing because it should be something you love but it also needs to find a place in your home that works with your furniture etc. One of the things I love is helping clients figure out what painting would work best in a particular space. If you are buying something for a specific spot make sure that the size works. In my own home I still like to tape off the area of a potential painting on the wall and l live with it for a day or two. Also you can use photoshop to give you an idea of how a painting will look in your home.
How do you approach setting a table? One of my favorite things is to have friends over. I like to cook but I LOVE to set the table. If possible I try to set it a day before so that I can enjoy the process and not feel rushed. I like to have fun mixing things in new ways, finding an excuse to use my newest vintage finds and ending up with something that feels special but also fun and casual.
Do you have any recent discoveries in the design, tastemaker space that you're excited about? I am excited every day by seeing the virtual works of so many talented designers. On at least a weekly basis I love getting to pop into my friend Sarah Bartholomew’s new store SB. There is always something new to discover. Sometimes I walk out with a shopping bag but I always leave with inspiration.
What's on the horizon for Kayce Hughes? I am hoping for more of the same. I love getting to spend my days painting, I still pinch myself daily to make sure I am not dreaming.