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Check Out Angela Hughes Zokan’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Angela Hughes Zokan.

Hi Angela, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Growing up many things were important to me, but nothing was as important as the little yellow paint set and brush.

It didn’t matter that all of the colors ran together or the paints were cracked, what mattered most was the fact
that I was quickly engulfed and transported to the place of my choosing with the simple swoop of a brush.

The brush allowed me to escape the chaos and create my personal oasis at a young age. My childhood was not ideal, although I know it could have been much worse. Throughout all of the instability and disorder, I had a very supportive father, extended family, and art educators that encouraged me along my way.

I attended Rollings School of the Arts and continued taking as many art classes as I could throughout high school. When it came to deciding on a college path, I knew it had to involve the arts. I attended the University of South Carolina to study Art Education with a concentration in painting. In undergrad, I was able to study art abroad in Cortona, Italy for a semester. This experience was life-changing!

The life and breath of this culture revolved around the arts and I was just taking it all in. While in Cortona, I volunteered at the local elementary school and was able to engage in some of my first experiences with community arts. When I finished undergrad, I went straight into the elementary classroom and graduate school in the evenings at the University of South Carolina.

Despite all of the challenges of being a new teacher, working with students, creating new lessons, and witnessing their little self-discoveries made every day special. I loved it! I continued to explore community-based art projects in graduate school volunteering with local community artist, Khaldoune Bencheikh. These practices flowed directly into my art classroom and changed the way I taught and looked at the arts for the better.

The benefit of being in education was I still had a “little” time in the summer to practice my own art explorations. I would do a few commissions here and there and participate in local art workshops when I was able. I have never stopped creating. It is essential for my soul.

In 2019, my husband Brent and I were blessed with our 3rd son and we needed to make a change. I had a tendency to focus most of my time within the classroom, and I did not always put my family first. I decided to take a step back from teaching to focus on my family. What I didn’t know at the time was the effect that this would have on my art. I knew I would have a little more time to concentrate on painting, but once I was engaged, I couldn’t stop.

I like to be busy. I like a little chaos, and with three boys there is no lacking in that! However, for the first time in a long time, I feel like my mind has the space to explore a variety of ideas, processes, and subject matters. I am continually writing notes, sketches, or voicing little messages into my phone of ideas that are filling my head.

Keeping a balance between family and my art is still sometimes a challenge, mostly because when I start something it tends to fully consume every part of me until it is complete. I am lucky enough to have a husband who that realizes some nights I will be up until 3 am just getting ideas down.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Failures happen daily within my studio and life. It is part of my learning process. With each struggle, I am able to grow and prepare differently the next time.

The road has been far from smooth- especially when I don’t know what path I am on until I am there. I am continually evolving and that process is hard. I have evolved into a much more reflective person and I am more connected than I ever was throughout my adolescence. For this I am grateful.

My friendships are stronger, my connections with people are greater and my artwork is thriving. Not thriving every day, but most!

I am just working, creating, and trying to live in the moments that are given to me. I am so appreciative of the opportunity and space to do what I love with the little ones and loved ones that surround me every day.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
While I typically focus on painting, I am continually experimenting and manipulating different mediums to create a variety of works of art.

Many of my artworks tend to be reflective of my grandmother’s love for floral wallpaper, nature, positive moments, celebrations of life, organic forms, and the vibrancy that exudes from us all – whatever makes me feel good. Whatever makes me dance around the studio until the wee hours of the morning. It has to make me smile.

Throughout all the disarray in the world around us, I use my artwork as an escape. I also leave time to create commissions including pet portrait collages, landscapes, handmade books, and really whatever is asked of me as long as it speaks to who I am as an artist. I love a good challenge!

I am proud that I have stuck with my passion and continue to develop. I am proud of how much I have grown as a person, and I accredit this to the amazing mentors, artists that I have been engaged with, and my continuously supportive husband, Brent.

I still don’t know exactly where I am going, but my mindset is in a much better place than it was 15 years ago.

I am thankful that I have had art as a way to refocus and reflect. My artwork can be found at online at ahugheszart.com, McIntosh Antiques and Gifts in Columbia, SC, and at Marsh on the May in Bluffton, SC, as well as, at a variety of local art events.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
The moment people actually start to take notice of your artwork is scary. It is terrifying putting so much of yourself out there for people to see.

Although my work is lighthearted, so much of my soul goes into every piece. Some pieces I remain so connected with I am unable to let go of.

Others fulfill what I need at a particular moment in time and I am able to let that moment pass. Vulnerability is challenging.

Pricing:

  • Paintings start around $165 an sq. ft.

Contact Info:

  • Website: ahugheszart.com
  • Instagram: @ahugheszart
  • Facebook: Angela Hughes Zokan Art

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