Alex May Hughes
Words: Amy Bell
Alex May Hughes is a sign painter and glass gilder based in West London. She graduated from The London College of Communication in 2012, where she studied Typography, developing her interest in traditional Victorian signage and mirrors.
When she had graduated from there, she took upon herself to get an apprenticeship with London sign-writer Pete Hardwick, where she then began to paint numerous signs for local restaurants and shops in East London.
Since graduating she has shown in various group shows (Somerset House, KK Outlet, Chicago Art Dept, London Fashion Week, Oxo Tower) as well as 3 Solo exhibitions in 2014 (Gallery 223), 2016 (71a Gallery), 2018 (Mother London).
Alex showed a lot of interest in the Simpsons, which is why there is no surprise that she displayed work in the 2015 show No Homers Club, a multidisciplinary art exhibition inspired by the TV show.
Thanks for talking to ReVamp, according to my research, you studied at the London college of communication, what was uni like in terms of being creative, and did you feel you were hitting your full potential being in university?
I enjoyed my time at university and they had great resources (screen printing, letterpress etc). I found it easy to be hands on and experiment.
Where does your inspiration come from and where has all your art been created?
I try to take inspiration from as many sources as possible; nature, music, film i really like getting inspired by sculpture also. I work out of my studio in west London.
You have a lot of popular pieces in terms of your artwork, which art would you say is your favourite and why?
It's hard to pick a favourite (like children). I like any piece that I feel I get to experiment with and try new things, its always satisfying to push what's possible.
How do you make sure that your artwork is ‘fresh’ and engaging with an audience?
I try not to worry too much about what other people think, as long as I'm engaged and enjoying what I'm making I usually find it connects with others too.
Are there any artists that influence you in your work?
Theres some amazing sign painters in Australia that make really modern and fun signs.
What is your favourite process from start to finish and why?
Using the gold leaf never gets old, it's like magic watching it transform and dry - its alot more flexible in terms of application and technique than people think.
What does your day to day consist of when you are working?
I wake up around 6.30am and check my emails, I have breakfast and drive to my studio. I'm usually doing hands on painting or gold leaf while I'm there and usually leave around 6 or 7pm.
What is next for you and what is your dream?
I hope to continue my practise andlearning new skills, I just want to keep make work that I enjoy and find stimulating.