Lenore Hughes has been working in the Santa Barbara Community for over 40 years, but she doesn’t seem to be in any trouble of running out of inspiration for her work.
An author, an artist and an educator, Hughes dedicates her life to finding ways to make art that is both specific and universal.
“Whatever I experience in life I turn into art. That’s just who I am,” says Hughes. “Everything I do is from an artistic viewpoint: setting the dinner table, making a garden, baking birthday cakes. I feel like all my life is about art.”
Hughes finds inspiration in all different environments, one of her favorite places being the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. She relishes in the beauty and mystery of the gardens, and calls the Santa Barbara community “a perfect nest for the creative community.”
Hughes has been working in collaboration with the Beauty and Fine Fragrance Department of Nordstrom, in Santa Barbara’s Paseo Nuevo (651 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara) for the last two years, where she creates unexpected, interactive exhibits which are displayed among the beauty merchandise.
“I’ve been able to do what I value most—to bring art to where people live, work and play. I take my art to the people and offer a respite, a thing of beauty, a change of pace, a moment of reflection, a surprise—from daily life,” explains Hughes. “I don’t know of anyone else who is making original art in a major department store anywhere.”
Hughes’ passion is contagious, as shoppers are drawn left and right to stop and admire her works of art. Her Nordstrom installations have included pieces made from all different mediums—the “discarded stuff of daily life”, she calls it—from flowers and leaves, to fabric, ribbons, and even Peeps Easter candy.
“My intent for the show was to offer a relief from the sadness over the tragedies that the mudslide brought on our community and bring a smile to faces if even for a few minutes,” Hughes explains in regard to her latest exhibit, Peep Into Spring.
As for the Nordstrom Installations, there’s only more to come from Hughes. “There are no limits to my art,” she says.
This summer, look out for her new exhibit, Flowerworks, inspired by Fourth of July Festivities.