MANKATO — Who could blame Chuck Hues?
He was only 6 years old, towed behind his mother on the way to her hair appointment on an upper floor of the Hilton Hotel in Greensboro, N.C., when none other than Elvis Presley exited the elevator. As the entourage cleared space for Presley to navigate the crowd, he paused and said to Mrs. Hues and her three kids: “ What cute children.”
When the King speaks, subjects listen. And Hues has been a faithful rock n’ roll disciple ever since.
“It seems like rock n’ roll has always been a big influence in my life,” said Hues, whose Rochester residency still hasn’t been able to overcome a slight Southern drawl. “I still love it.”
In a career that has taken him from a physical confrontation with tie- dyed Grateful Dead security to some of the biggest music festivals in the Midwest, Hues has established himself as the paintbrush of music. He’s painted the giant, stage-wide backdrops for festivals like 10,000 Lakes, WeFest and Shangri-La. He’s provided album cover art, T-shirts and illustrations for Grateful Dead, Insane Clown Posse, Moe, WookieFoot and God Johnson. All the while, he’s gained a reputation for being a frequent live painter during outdoor music events, creating sale-ready works in under 90 minutes that are matched to the mood of the music.
“I close my eyes and try to see where the music is going,” said Hues, who’s more commonly known by the handle Artguy Chuck. “I use the music to surf on, and the painting sort of takes shape on its own.”
Hues will be in Mankato on Saturday for a collaborative event between Red Sky Lounge and Christy and Kristie’s, a newly established collective of art, jewelry, gems and glassware located at 420 Park Lane in Mankato.