Artist Spotlight : Cecily Hughes

Pat Brooks

While an artist who drained nine pints of his own blood in order to create a life-size bust of himself might not suit everyone’s taste, senior Cecily Hughes finds the work of sculptor Marc Quinn, responsible for the blood sculpture titled “Self,” refreshingly clever and unpretentious.As a French major, Cecily traveled to France during fall term last year. While in France, her interest in art was piqued by exposure to classical and contemporary art as well as fashion.

After returning to the states, she said, “I took some art classes, and sculpture appealed to me right off the bat. Sculpture is more flexible.” Because of this experience, Cecily was inspired to get a minor in studio art.

Assistant Professor of Studio Art Rob Neilson’s “extreme realism” philosophy resonates with Hughes’ own aesthetic.

Said Hughes, “I like to try and capture the fantastic aspects of both reality and imagination — the childlike imagination.”

She is a self-declared hater of drawing and painting. “Its not as physical for me — I enjoy the actual physical time it takes to make sculptures,” Hughes explained. Additionally, she finds three-dimensional art “easier to relate to.”

She also recognizes the importance of limits as fodder for creativity, and prefers to make her sculptures from found items — “I like not paying for my materials — it’s a nice constraint.”
Hughes’ fantastical leanings have manifested themselves in interesting ways. “One of my favorite sculptures I made last year was [made of] sugar — I melted sugar and water together to create syrup and then let it harden and manipulated it into a giant edible but abstract sculpture.” she said.

When planning a sculpture, Hughes does “a lot of thinking, a lot of sketching of logistical kinds of things, and actually writing down ideas,” she said. “I consider materials, and see what I can find.”

The process is not rushed. “It can easily take lots and lots of time,” she said. “Including the whole planning and thinking process, I think an average work takes around 72 hours.”
The fruits of her labor should be on display third term. Hughes is planning an exhibition of sculptures and possibly photographs, so be sure to check it out.