A drive around Rochester reveals Artguy paintings to discerning eyes. For 10 years, customers have been drawn to Infinity Tattooing on North Broadway by one of his murals. It includes a curling red dragon perched atop a window and a tawny striped tiger.
What was once a plain cinder block wall behind Joe’s Auto Care on 6th Street NW is adorned with doors offering passage into Hues’ imagination. The mural features open repair bays, cars on lifts, and a glimpse of imagined green on the building’s far side.
At former office manager Sarah Johnson’s prompting, Hues painted the mural at Joe’s in 2013. In 2014, Hues’ mural won an award for “aesthetic enhancement” from Rochester’s Committee on Urban Design & Environment. Joe Peter, owner of Joe’s Auto Care says Hues’ mural is a landmark and “softens” an industrial area.
Describing his art, Hues says, “I like to put a little sort of mysticism or…something that’s not natural in the natural picture.”
Hues’ infatuation with art has always been closely linked to music. “At age three my parents brought home twins, a boy and a girl, and they said ‘stop playing the drums, be quiet,’ and I learned I could do effects with the drawing to make myself get that same sort of feeling you get when you are playing the drums.”
Though Hues moved to Minnesota in 1999, his previous art career took him around the country painting surf shops and amusement parks like Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN. Hues received training as an illustrator at Auburn University. In the early 90s, he did a stint as a Grateful Dead illustrator.His piece “Banjo” won the Grateful Dead fall tour design in 1994. (For more on this crazy story, check out our website.)
Hues is a regular on the regional music festival circuit, having served as artistic director for WeFest and the 10,000 Lakes Festival. Hues dances while painting glowing mushrooms under black lights at Harmony Park while bands like The Big Wu and Wookiefoot are on stage. “I like freedom. I like to play, and so this live art thing has been my best friend for the last ten years,” says Hues explaining his concert-based live painting. “The music is the catalyst. The music is the connection.”
Sothea Lam, Push and Turn front man, says Hues “captures the emotions from the music and transfers them to canvas. To see that done live with your favorite band is pretty awesome.” Lam’s bandmate, Cameron Smith, asked Hues to paint his drum set. “It was a cool experience that resulted in a one-of-a-kind piece that gets a lot of attention,” says Smith.
Hues offers aspiring artists this advice: “As an artist, you need to find what you love the most. What makes you tick. What makes your heart beat faster. Then, figure out a way to make that lucrative.”