We had the good fortune of connecting with Hugo Pérez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hugo, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
During the start of the quarantine, I was scrolling through TikTok and I came across a business owner who shared how she had developed her apparel store and I realized there were a ton of digital tools available to develop an online store. In the past, I had sold prints of my art, but I realized I could expound on that idea and add other products to create a retail experience that could bridge the gap between my art practice and my interest in fashion. The mission of Lovehue is to carry goods that are both beautiful and accessible to anyone’s budget. Art beyond a canvas. Art beyond an art gallery. I have a background in brand design as a former art director so developing a brand from the ground up was something I had done for clients in the past. This time, however, I developed it for myself. This proved to be the most challenging part of the process because as your own client, you are your biggest cheerleader and worst critic. I designed about 100 items: tees, sweaters, bags, hats, and art prints. I ended up with about a quarter of those products in the final store.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been working on my art practice since 2015. My work is figurative and focuses on the LGBT experience from a contemporary, southern perspective. The work is influenced by artists like Matisse, Marsden Hartley, and Jared French. My work was recently featured in a public work at Discovery Green, it was part of a group show in Provincetown, MA, and OutSmart magazine selected me as the favorite male artist for 2020. I try to paint every day and I make sure to share my work online as much as possible. I think it’s about getting your work in front of as many eyes as possible. The people that respond to your art will find you eventually. It’s challenging not to live in a more culturally diverse art scene. Houston has a solid scene but it’s conservative and not open to outsiders. I think cities like NYC are more accepting of different voices/perspectives. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that nobody is going to hand you anything. You have to work for your dreams to achieve your goals. It’s hard but rewarding. I hope that people can see themselves in my work, I hope to bring some happiness to people through my art. I think minority-owned businesses are important, now more than ever. Lovehue stands for equality and inclusivity.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
No city does brunch like Houston. I’d take them to Batanga for some great tapas and live music. I also love Boheme’s drag brunch on Sundays and Present company is another favorite. There are so many awesome places to dine. Montrose, Midtown, and Eado have great spots. There are way too many to name! I would definitely have to take them to the Menil, the Menil park, Rothko Chapel, The Sawyer Yards art community. The newly renovated Memorial Park. Bike riding through Allen Parkway. There’s something for everyone in this city.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give a shoutout to my friends and family. After setting up the store they were the first to purchase items. This allowed me to test the products, the mailing and delivery experience and to narrow my product inventory based on real customer feedback. The funny thing is that I didn’t ask them to do this but when word got out that I was opening up an online shop, they began to buy things off the site while it was still in development! I am forever grateful to the people who support my ideas.
Force Majeure, Hugo Pérez