OXKC: The Mark of Kayce Hughes


Do you know how to draw? Some of us would say “I can’t even draw a straight line.” Of course, most drawings do not mandate straight lines, but the thought of making a drawing intimidates many of us. Why? What is a drawing?

It is the hand making some form of a mark. This seems basic to the human experience. We can look at what our ancestors left on caves and it still leaves us in awe. It is a form of communication that is as venerable as writing.

Although the printing press eradicated the need for scribes, and the smartphone might supplant the shopping list, mankind still has a compulsion to make a mark on some kind of element, be it paper, canvas, or a tree.

In particular, cursive writing becomes a very personal mark; it is the essence of the maker, as the impulse goes from the brain, down the arm, through the fingers, and onto a surface. This becomes a form of high art when Cy Twombly (1928–2011) loops with pencils, oil sticks, and paint. Sometimes with words, and sometimes without, Twombly invents a language to look at. His work is highly prized, and he has influenced many artists today-—one being Kayce Hughes.

Hughes, a 1988 Art Studio graduate of Skidmore College, has continued to make her mark, figuratively and literally. Kayce’s career began by designing children’s clothes. Having seven children of her own was her initial inspiration, and these designs became the foundation of her store, Pears and Bears, located in Nashville, Tennessee. Although she never stopped drawing and painting for herself, it was a decorator who compelled her into selling her art, to many collectors’ delight.

Kayce’s art is exuberant and has an instant visual appeal. She draws with drips and swirls and circular motions that show her hand at work. Whether on canvas or paper, each piece is unique. In Hughes’s opinion, her work is a part of the Artisanal movement that is very much with us today—for instance, in cooking. The machine is not evident in the home-grown or the hand-made. Hughes firmly believes that “there is nothing like an original piece of art.” If mankind has a compulsion to make a mark, then perhaps there is a need to view them.

You can see the original works of Kayce Hughes at Bunny Williams Home, 232 East 59th Street, in New York City, or at Rivers Spencer, in New Orleans, or at kaycehughes.com.

And if you are intimidated to make a drawing, just remember, signing your name becomes an original mark. Who needs straight lines? u