Joseph Hughes | Artist in Residence

Earlier this year, Joseph Hughes was Artist in Residence at AGA LAB. We asked him about his work process, his experience as an artist in residence and his exhibition at De Bouwput.

How does a new work or project usually start for you? 

A new work always starts with an idea. If that arrives then I can start to cobble things towards each other and begin to marinade and marry them. Nothing is out of bounds at the beginning of this process and inspiration can come from the obscure and most obvious places.

What graphic technique did you mainly work with here at AGA LAB?

The graphic technique I focused on during my mini-week-long residency during was screen printing. I have over 10+ years on and off experience with this medium and as a delinquent designer and occasional artist, this technique always fits well within my visual vocabulary.

Do you remember what you had in mind before you came here?

I had such little time and so I already pre-mediated and planned as much as I could do really. I had some 300-gram holographic card that I printed the statement “Less is More* (*or less)” on with black 3.0 an acrylic replica of Vantablack absorbing 99% of visible light.

I guess I just really wanted to marry these two materials together to create a sort of dichotomy between a matt, light absorbing paint and this holographic card that bounces the complete colour spectrum and more outwards. I tried to keep it as simple as possible. Sort of…

Within the last day of my week-long residency, I decided to go ahead and print the exhibition guide on long-sleeved sweatshirts. In both black and white, covering both arms the entire back with a small detail print on the left chest. Which turned out pretty well if I may say so myself. 

Many residents who preceded you here told us about their lows and their happy moments during their working process. Did you also expect these learning moments and what happiness did you experience during your creative process?

The making/ creative process has a multitude of emotional facets. So, expected? Yes. While presenting at the culmination of the AIR with the other residence I was asked what my favourite print was – a horrible question. One I had just previously asked that came back to bite me. I pulled out a piece of the holographic paper that was damaged, which I further assaulted to create more facets. This turned out to be much better than trying to keep the print perfect and was an unexpected learning that strengthened.

Can you tell us more about your presentation at gallery De Bouwput?

I actually started my residency with an exhibition in De Bouwput. “It’s The thought That Counts…” is my first and last solo exhibition showcasing over 10 years of autonomous work since moving to the Netherlands. A lot of work (both emotional and physical) went into this 2-week period. I decided that during the exhibition and after the opening, that I would sneak round to the AGA lab and get some work done – to be efficient. However, I had quite some visitors, which meant focus was very splintered. It’s the first time I’ve seen old and new work together especially from over such a period of time – so it’s brought me a great deal further in terms of defining my visual language and next steps forward.

More work of Joseph Hughes can be found on:


Both the holographic card and the sweatshirt are purchasable HERE.