Farida Hughes is an abstract painter with a studio in the California Building in NE Minneapolis. Her work in oil paint and watercolor on paper is shown regularly at galleries and art centers in Minnesota and nationwide. Her pieces are included in many private and corporate collections nationally, including Target, Chesapeake Capital and the Marriot and Hilton hotels. She has a BA in Studio Art/English from Fordham University and MFA from the University of Chicago. Farida is represented locally by the Nina Bliese Gallery, Minneapolis.
Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
My paintings are abstract, often aerial, compositions of crowds with negative space providing the architectural/natural and urban/rural boundaries through which groups move and interact. My work examines flow, human passage, collective memory and collective movement. I am consistently interested in the interactions of disparate groups or individuals and the abstracted forms they create. Negative space acts as landscape and architectural reference and creates compositional tension and balance.
Right now I am finishing up a group of paintings based on observations at street crossings and intersections. These expand on a group of small pieces completed in 2009, and are specifically inspired by the crossings of foot traffic at urban university/campus sites, bus sites, and platforms for public transportation. Some of these pieces are different from previous work because the compositions display more of a grid-like structure.
Emergence, Oil on canvas, 2011
How did you decide to become an artist?
It is something that I always knew. Creating a work of art, for me, is a problem solving experience, an intellectual exercise that builds to a kind of performance of intuitive mark-making in my studio. It is getting to the exhilaration of the finishing stages of a painting that I crave. It is hard work but also a very rewarding activity that I just keep doing over and over again.
Following Up and Down, Oil on canvas, 2012
How has your work developed over the years?
Somewhere along the road I decided to remove the figure from my work. This limitation in subject matter helped me to develop as more of an abstract thinker; I began to focus on physical space and the movement of objects in space. I am talking about real spaces in the world: landscapes, cityscapes, interiors, not the cosmos. Eventually my objects became the forms of people, groups of people, in a variety of spaces. My work now is focused on the experience of bodies interacting with and moving through spaces, and though it was not intentional, I am amused that I came back to figures in this very abstract way. What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
A grad school advisor told me I had to take the horizon line out of my paintings. I was painting landscapes and cityscapes but I wanted to dig deeper into human connections to their surroundings; I was developing into an abstract painter, wanting to combine the influences of abstract expressionism and color field painting which was all around me in my youth, but still work with subject matter. Removing the horizon line was a real challenge but extremely liberating.
On the business side of things, a great piece of advice was to join artist registries. Back then they were slide registries; it is much easier today with digital images and online image banks. Great advice for any young artist!
Grand Avenue, Oil on canvas, 2009
Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art. How do you sell your work? How do you market yourself?
I keep several mailing lists and send out a sort of newsletter or email invite when I have something of note going on.
I work with a couple of art consulting firms; I sell my work through commercial galleries but I also like to show at art centers, university galleries or other spaces which helps to expand the audience. It is good to keep an online presence as well as continue to exhibit in both solo and group shows.
“Speaking of Space”, Farida Hughes and Danelle Griner
June 29 – August 10, 2012
Opening Reception Friday, June 29, 6-8pm
Artist Talk: July 19, 7pm
Bloomington Theater and Art Center
1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd. Bloomington, MN 5543
This is a painting exhibition but it will incorporate a 3-dimensional installation in gallery space that pushes the conceptual ideas behind both Danelle’s and my work. This is the first time I have done a collaborative piece for an art exhibition and I am quite excited about that addition to the show.