Capote painter brings film set style to local art show
Aidan Cloet, CONTRIBUTOR
Simon Hughes considers himself to be your “classic story” of an artist.
“I always drew things. Towards the end of high school, I realized that’s what I would go into in university,” he said. “Soon after getting my fine arts degree and having little shows here, I started working in the film industry for 15 years.”
Hughes has worked a variety of movie sets, including bigger Hollywood movies filmed in Winnipeg like Capote and The Assassination of Jesse James.
“I painted all these western signs. They blocked off Princess. I loved it, it carries over into my art somewhat,” he said.
After getting his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba in 2007, he made the switch to his own art full-time.
“I gave up my union card,” he said. “I didn’t quit in disgust or anything. I just quit because I wanted to do my own thing”.
Hughes’ art carries a very distinct style. His use of watercolour and oil paintings are meant to go against the grain, and be more precise in nature.
“The whole thing about it is that it’s fluid, it can blend beautifully. But by making it sharp, you are fighting against the nature of it. It gives this quality of mystery,” said Hughes. “Watercolour isn’t just some painting of a tree, it can be something hard-edged, abstract and have a lot of meaning to it. That’s where it came from.”
Hughes hosted his first art show in Winnipeg since being in university, around 20 years ago, on Sept. 30 at LANTERN, a contemporary art gallery in the Exchange District.
Jean Barbridge, a University of Winnipeg student, attended the event and had good things to say about his work.
“I like his use of texture and lines. I learned a lot about surface, and how he uses it in a very flat and realistic way,” she said.
One thing that Hughes wanted his audience to take away from his art is that much of his work connects, but doesn’t look the same.
“Sometimes you’ll be at an art show, and it’s like someone just did the painting ten times, because they’re into a very specific thing,” he said. “That can be good or bad, but I hope people would appreciate that there’s some variety.”