Lyndsey Hughes has always enjoyed making things out of whatever she could get her hands on. The passion to create led her to found Lyndsey Hughes Designs and Illustrations, for which she is owner and operator. She enjoys adding color to her art and life with the simple swipe of a paintbrush, and she also designs stickers, clothing and home decor decals, among many other projects. Hughes is a graduate of Western Wayne High School and studied fine art at Keystone College. She is an administrative assistant at Center City Print. She and her husband, Chris, live in Scranton with their kids, Taryn and John.
Meet Lyndsey Hughes…
Q: After entering college to study fine arts, you walked away from art for a while. What happened?
A: I studied for a year at Keystone, and there was something about art school that either you thrive or it sort of sucks it out of you. I ended up having my daughter after that year at Keystone and took the next five years to raise the kids. I had spare time again and started painting all over again. Even just between when I started painting then and now, the internet is great. You can see other artists’ processes, and I’ve grown just in the last few years alone.
Q: Having left art with a bad flavor in your mouth, what made you get back into it?
A: I needed to do something for myself, and I didn’t know what. I found some of my old art supplies and just started going at it again. It kicked right back in, and it was fun so I kept going.
Q: Describe your style as an artist.
A: I mostly do watercolors. I like mermaids. I know they’re kind of cliche at this point. “The Little Mermaid” came out when I was little, and it was finally a red-headed princess. I did a lot of mermaids, and now I’m getting into oil paintings. I studied a lot of Alphonse Mucha. He was a turn-of-the-century painter. France loved him. I like his style. He did oil, watercolor, posters. It’s really detailed. I just love the turn-of-the-century stuff, back around the Victorian era and the mix of ink and watercolor. The more vintage it feels, the more I like it. I like old-school vibes. Some of my stuff is almost tattoo-inspired. I like how you can play with the different line weights and the colors can be nice and bold. When I was little, my dad was a tattoo artist, and I got to see things like that. I feel like it all factored in. My grandmother worked for a paper company. She brought home crates of paper. All the kids were at her house, and there was always paper there so we’d make things.
Q: Can you describe some of your projects?
A: Because of the stuff that’s more tattoo-like with the lines, I thought I could make stickers of all these. I started putting stickers on things. I put them on glass, then started painting them in. I thought it was all cute, kitschy stuff you’d see on Pinterest, or Etsy people will like this.
Q: What has been your project favorite and why?
A: Watercolor. It’s fun because it’s kind of controlled chaos. It will do what it wants unless you put it on super thick. I thin it out like crazy. It’s layers and layers, I get the paper wet and let it flow and do its thing.
Q: You also do designs on clothing.
A: I’m getting more into it. I hand-draw everything on my tablet, then I’ll watercolor it on paper afterward. I print it all on my watercolor paper and fill it in, then I re-scan and edit in Photoshop and turn it into T-shirts. It’s direct to garment printing. It’s just like a printer and how you put a piece of paper in, but you put a shirt in instead.
Q: What message do you hope to communicate through your artwork, especially the slogans on your home decor?
A: I always kind of do it tongue-and-cheek. Life is way too serious. Have a bit of fun. I’m a sucker for bad puns and making everything light-hearted.
Q: What is one way art has positively affected your life?
A: I’m one of the many people who has been diagnosed with anxiety. To be able to put things out there that just make you laugh and say, “This isn’t so bad,” and the process of creating them, I can just zone out for a while and not stress about this little thing that’s eating at me, it’ll be OK. It’s my Zen. I make things, I make a giant mess, and then I’m OK.
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you, or a fun fact?
A: I was a published poet when I was a kid. That was weird because I’m not a writer. In middle school, I had a couple poems put out in a national publication. I don’t know where they are or the names of the books at this point. I can barely write a grocery list now, but I’m a published poet. Go figure.
Q: And I hear you used to raise peacocks?
A: I raised peacocks as a kid. I had them as pets, and they were always around the house. My dad grew up on a farm; my mom didn’t. So we slowly acquired little animals. It started off with just a few chickens and rabbits. My mom said she wanted a peacock, so my dad came home with a peacock. Then my mom wanted a female (peahen), so my dad came home with a female (peahen). We also ended up with a pair of white peacocks. They’re easy to take care of. … One of the things about growing up in the middle of nowhere is you have space for all these strange animals.
Q: Are you part of any community groups or organizations?
A: I’m not really part of any group or organization, but I’ve had a lot of random people who know I do artwork ask me to donate stuff to fundraisers. … I’ll definitely give things away like prints or baskets for my kids’ schools when they do fundraisers.
Q: What other hobbies do you have?
A: I like to cook, and I love to bake. In the winter I bake a lot; I don’t like turning the oven on in the summer. I also knit. I’ve knitted socks, sweaters, slippers. I make stuff.
Q: Can you pinpoint an event in your life that helped shape the person you are today?
A: My family has always been very relaxed and open about stuff. We’ve always been very accepting for growing up in a little corner of Pennsylvania. Me and my sisters have always traveled if we can; (we) try as many foods as we can, meet as many different people as we can, and we’ve always been very open. There’s always something to learn. I think just being open, it’s hard to change your view because you’re open to everything. I have ideas, but I usually don’t have anything that’s so firm that it’s going to shift drastically. I go with the change.