Paintings by Artist Amy Hughes

Young artists often wonder whether an MFA education is an essential component to develop a successful career in the arts. For figurative painter Amy Hughes, a Masters degree has allowed her to develop both the technical and practical expertise needed to navigate a sometimes cutthroat New York art scene.

Hughes was born in Leicestershire, a city in the East Midlands of Great Britain, but spent most of her childhood growing up in the rural area of Cheshire. The dreary landscapes of her youth informed her artistic practice, which is often moody and decidedly provocative. Her work is deeply personal and draws on the experience of growing up as an only child: Recent works depict a young girl wrapped in a plastic sheath, bringing themes of female objectification and sexuality to the fore.

Since graduating from the New York Academy of Art, Hughes has been pleasantly surprised to find that the experience has led to opportunities to show her work. This month, Hughes will present “Pure,” a solo show at New York’s Miranda Kuo gallery; she has another solo show slated at The Greenpoint Gallery in Brooklyn later this year. In fact, Hughes has shown steadily since landing in New York for her studies, a move she cites as extremely consequential to her growth as an artist. Here, Hughes reflects on fledgling career, while sharing her insight on the many challenges and frustrations facing emerging artists today.